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Walker Lukens

Walker Lukens plays SX tomorrow (03.13) + talks about gear on Delicious Audio

One of the most creative singer/songwriters to claim Texas as home, Walker Lukens has put in the time to get where he is.  Eclectic pop ditties exude from his pores, and at the recent Float Fest he proved to have one of the hottest live shows in the Austin music scene. Walker Lukens will perform at SXSW tomorrow (03.13) at Cheer Up Charlies. Check out this interview he gave to our sister blog Delicious Audio about gear and the creative process. - Lee Ackerley

Float Fest Beat the Heat

 Float Fest is a bold endeavor that has paid off once again. Bringing thousands of music-loving Texans to the Cool River Ranch in San Marcos, in the middle of a scorching deadbeat Summer, has liability written all over it.  However the festival founder, Marcus Federman, along with his crack team have pulled off another spectacular festival weekend for the fourth year in a row.

The festival, which has grown larger every year, hit a new high this year in terms of the lineup, attendance, and overall production.  While an increase in ticket pricing, long entry lines, and scorching weather threatened to stem the flow of attendees- those setbacks were overshadowed by the impressive lineup and galvanizing atmosphere that made the slight inconveniences worthwhile.

The lineup of music acts were split down the middle, with half of them local and the other half national headliners:

Best 3 Local Performances: 

Sweet Spirit – Fresh off the road on their national tour, Sweet Spirit crashed back into the Austin crowd with a raucous performance on Sunday afternoon.  Lead singer, Sabrina Ellis, showed her trademark spunk while guitarist, Andrew Cashen, smashed guitars. Tearing through a hit list of songs like “The Power”, “Baby When I Close My Eyes” and “Rebel, Rebel” their performance was a refreshing shot of energy on a torrid day.

Walker Lukens – Playing with his band that looks straight out of a modeling agency, Walker Lukens proved his eclectic pop prowess while wearing a white suit in 100 degree heat on Sunday afternoon.  The emotive songwriter captured the crowd with emphatic songs like “Every Night” and “Lifted” while charming the pants off everyone simultaneously.  Walker’s charisma and music skills make his appeal undeniable and his songs make his future bright.

 Ume – While this local hard rocking trio played at the peak of heat wave on Sunday, they still managed to rattle the audience’s skulls in a good way. Lead singer, Lauren ‘LL’, demonstrates that big things can come in small packages with her whirring guitar and banshee-like vocals.  These Austin veterans continue to impress with their dedication to devastatingly awesome music and their longevity in making it. 

Best 3 Headliner Performances:

Cage the Elephant – This bluesy rock band form Bowling Green, TN is the embodiment of the rock n’ roll spirit.  Lead singer, Matt Shultz, parades around the stage like Jagger in his prime.  The passion, urgency, and exuberance of each band member creates a synergistic explosion of unparalleled proportions.  This young sextet stole Sunday night from Weezer and MGMT, as their brilliance couldn’t be contained.

Passion Pit – Michael Angelakos might be stepping away from music for a hiatus but his Saturday night performance showed that he and his band are still at the top of their game. Crushing songs like “I’ll Be Alright” and “Lifted Up” are the nectar from which pop hook-loving millenials feed.  Angelakos is a great example of a veteran artist who doesn’t take anything or any show for granted by giving his all on every song.

Mac Miller – While I have to admit, I was not a fan of Mac Miller prior to seeing his live show, the Pittsburgh rapper is persuasive in his power to impress.  Commanding a large crowd that hung to every lyric, Miller weaved in popular samples to his music that created something like a block party. While there might be more talented musicians and rappers in the world, no one can say that Mac Miller doesn’t know how to throw down.

3 Performance Let-Downs:

MGMT – Uninspired and mopey, MGMT came out flaccid and flat-lined in front of a crowd the desperately wanted to dance with them.

Mike Jones – The Houston rapper dropped the ball for the second year in a row. Jones seemed out of it and passed the mic to his posse for the majority of the show.

Neon Indian – More of a personal preference, but Alan Palomo chose to play all of his newer tracks, which aren’t bad, but refuses to acknowledge his Chill Wave roots that got him there.


Float Fest still remains a favorite for campers, tubers, and vibers who find reasons to attend that are not directly related to the music. Expect more stages, bigger headliners, and more extra-curricular activities as this atypical festival continues to blossom. Kudos must be paid to a team that somehow found a way to succeed in the Texas Summer in a city dominated by ACL and SXSW.


Float Fest 2017 Local Artist Preview

 Float Fest takes place this coming weekend, and while the festival's lineups have gotten progressively massive over the past few years, the honorable festival bookers have remained loyal to Austin artists.  Joining MGMT, Weezer, and Passion Pit onstage will be a slew of local musicians who represent some of Austin's most electrifying live shows.  

Sweet Spirit - Arguably the most recognizable local act on the fest lineup, 'Queen Sabrina' never skimps on a live show. Raucous, empowering, and theatrical, a Sweet Spirit show is as magnetic as it is unforgettable.(4:45 PM Sunday @ Sun Stage)

Walker Lukens - One of the most creative singer/songwriters to claim Texas as home, Walker has put in the time to get where he is.  Eclectic pop diddies exude from his pores, while his hair may be the most recognizable in the austin music scene. (4 PM Sunday @ Water Stage)

Ume - A trio that levels all that stands before them, Ume emits swerving art-rock that rattles ribcages. Lead singer, Lauren 'LL', is a deceiving package of wanton destruction that shatters the stereotype of the girl-next-door. (3:15 PM Sunday @ Sun Stage) 

Los Coast - A soul-rock outfit on a hot streak, Los Coast is turning heads at every performance.  Trey Privott brings 'Stax-worthy' vocals to a swirl of multi-genre rock that ebbs and flows with volcanic zeniths. (2 PM Sunday @ Sun Stage)

King of Nothing - Originally hailing from H-Town, King of Nothing, brings enlightened rhymes to 'Skrewed Up' beats. Daren Napier channels the angst and pain of a life full of troubling transitions to elucidate a crisis of identity, and the music is stunning. (2 PM Saturday @ Sun Stage)



Broody Blues from Walker Lukens

How 'bout a little guitar growlin' blues for your evening, from local front man Walker Lukens? As Lukens and backing band The Side Arms prepare for a big show with Bright Light Social Hour at Stubb's on March 27 (Do512 is giving away some tickets here, if yer clicking finger is feeling lucky), these guys have been making the rounds of online music shows and making waves. We've recently seen a couple of performances at KUTX, along with the one below recorded for NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. In said vid we see this band that just crackles with talent putting out a pared down but anything-but-simple version of their tune "Jacket on Your Shoulder," and looking like they're havin' a goddamn good time doing it. These guys are really getting their name out there at the moment, and their sound is blues that sometimes invokes a little Spoon and isn't afraid to put some tech into an oldschool sound (check out Lukens' looping skills in the vid below). Lukens et al. have been puttin' in good, hard work over the last few years (we talked about him in 2013, here), and with big shows like the Stubb's one and not one, but two records set to come out by the man in 2015, this may be the year that takes Lukens and The Side Arms from local staples to a big-time act.


Emily Wolfe Releases Mechanical Hands EP, 5/25/13 @ Holy Mountain w/ The TonTons & Walker Lukens

Emily Wolfe's album, Mechanical Hands, is anything but cold and unfeeling as it radiates with Wolfe's celestial voice. The upbeat melodies behind sweetly haunting lyrics bring to mind the music of Pretty Girls Make Graves, giving me high hopes for this indie pop/neo-folk musician. This new album is especially impressive after listening to her delicate debut record, Director's Notes, which is great but her growth as an artist in Mechanical Hands is undeniable. --Written by Katy Glass


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