Action Bronson, Doomtree & More Conquer SXSW at CraveOnline Blowout Party
The wild musical marathon of SXSW 2015 saved the best for last, as CraveOnline’s showcase on Saturday (3/21) proved to be a blowout of cinematically exhilarating proportions. With a line stacked up the rain-soaked street long before doors even opened, the crowds would soon flood 5th avenue as they struggled for space to catch the wild dynamics of Action Bronson, Doomtree, Smallpools, Irontom and The Black Cadillacs at the Vulcan Gas Company.
Los Angeles rockers Irontom, now on their second Crave lineup for SXSW, showcased an evolution of sound with new material from their recently released EP, driven by the impossibly catchy single “The Minista”.
The melodic expansion, aided by Dan Saslow’s further immersion on the keys and Zach Irons’ fingerwork (that solo on “Goin’ Slow”!!), only serves to buoy the jagged strength of the band’s sound, as frontman Harry Hayes contorts and angles his body through wide-eyed vocal exclamations.
With the rock palette primed, The Black Cadillacs soon followed with powerfully passionate 60s-laced rock from their Memphis and Nashville roots. One gets the feeling that if these boys ever went country it would be an easy radio kill, particularly given that they craft the hell out of a melody. But they’ve saved us from such perils thus far, clearly driven to a specific sound which, judging by their latest EP release, is an ongoing and ever-deepening evolution of their blues-rock excellence.
The stage was then set for a style shift, as the Doomtree collective stepped into position under the florescent haze with mischievous grins and eager eyes. Crave Album of The Year crafter P.O.S. and Artist of the Month alum Dessa worked in tight circles, as Sims and Mike Mitlan wove through their set with surgical precision made to look easy, volleying verses and leaning hard on their tremendous new release All Hands. Missing from action was the incredible Cecil Otter, though the Minneapolis crew amply stepped up their game in his absence.
A Doomtree show is guaranteed to be the most fun you’ll ever have at a gig. Between an airtight narrative of passion & positivity and a constantly buoyant party vibe onstage, you want to be in the mix. The dancing happens without intention – and to quote one of the highlight songs of the set, “I don’t wanna think about it, I just wanna get down!”
Action Bronson, the poutine-slingin’, chain-blunting mic-killer sensation with a brand new album on the ears, stepped into his headlining spot like it was his living room. Blunt lit from start to finish, Bronson’s casual stage presence was equal parts hilarious and impressive, because it’s not an act: the man does not have a single fuck to give.
The dirty witticism of “Actin’ Crazy” was received like an arena anthem banger, and further samplings from his brand-new Mr. Wonderful record hit like sledgehammers laced with laugh-your-ass-off lyrical couplets as the legendary Alchemist set the beats.
In between songs, he cherried the blunts and autographed everything from shoes to iPhone cases.
It was the final moments of Bronson’s set, however, that are laser-etched on the mind in a manner not unlike assassinations and lost virginities; a cinematic blaze of Scorsese glory (not that tired Stones documentary shit – we’re talkin’ prime) too perfect to be real.
At the end of a riotous run through “Easy Rider,” the man led the crowd in the repeated closing line: “Ride the Harley into the sunset” as motorcycle sounds blasted through the PA. When the chant-along hit full unison, Bronson tossed the mic over his shoulder in a hilariously obnoxious arc, and with right hand raised in a throttling motion stepped offstage and into the crowd. A trail of blunt smoke followed the double-wide superstar locomotive as he moved to and through the exit with what seemed like the whole venue in tow. He rolled round the corner and up the block, leading a throng of fans in a victory lap down 5th ave to the roaring chant of “Bronson! Bronson!”
Oh, you thought we were done? Hell no. Somehow, the Vulcan hit capacity again in no time as Smallpools took the stage to close out our show. Delivering a pop-driven collection of rockers in anticipation of their brand new record LOVETAP!, the band’s infectiously upbeat sound guarantees a momentum well beyond their breakthrough single “Dreaming”.
With euphoric delirium hanging thick in the air we wandered into the downpour outside, where we were greeted with one promotional survivor, despite the downpours and rush for free posters inside. One still lived on:
See you next year, when we figure out a way to top the greatest SXSW throwdown in memory! In the meantime, check out the full recap gallery below!
Deepest thanks to TuneCore, Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media, LANDR, and Vulcan Gas Company!