SOS Fest: Girls Against Boys Return

Started in 1988, Girls Against Boys, were one of the oldest established bands to play Saturday night at Sound on Sound 2016.

Lead vocalist Scott McCloud took the stage with a shiny red guitar and velvet red shoulder strap.

“We’re Girls Against Boys, and we’ve been around for a while,” McCloud said.

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Girls Against Boys played on Saturday Dave Creaney/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The band had their last tour in 2009 in Poland and Russia. But in May 2013, they resumed touring and making reappearances at music festivals, supporting their new EP Ghost List.

The crowd stood patiently, many long time fans of the band. “Welcome back,” was heard shouted from the audience throughout the set.

“So great to be in the great state of Texas,” McCloud said.

Originally started in Washington D.C., the band made the long trip down south.

They started with the song “Kill The Sexplayer” off their 1994 album Cruise Yourself. This song also featured on the soundtrack for the 1994 movie Clerks.

Bassist and keyboardist Eli Janney, rocked out on stage, and switched from instrument to instrument.

Old time fans shouted out requests for their favored songs, “Kick,” “Basstation,” “Tweaker.”

McCloud and Janney, with the rest of the band, bassist Johnny Temple and drummer Alexis Fleisig, played one of their most popular songs “Bullet Proof Cupid” and the crowd raged in contempt!

Ending the set with “Disco Six Six,” Girls Against Boys thanked the crowd, who stood there wanting more.

SOS Fest: US Weekly, Chest Hair, and Drunk Madonna Dance Moves

US Weekly perform on the Keep Stage at Sound On Sound Festival on November, 5 2016. Dave Creaney/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
US Weekly perform on the Keep Stage at Sound On Sound Festival on November, 5 2016. Dave Creaney/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

From the local stages of small Austin bars and venues, US Weekly made their festival debut at Sound on Sound 2016 and couldn’t had been more thrilled about it.

The band took a leap in their career with this festival, never experiencing anything like this before.

“This is so much more professional,” guitarist Ryan Fitzgibbon said. “So I feel a little bit more nervous.”

They said they were so excited to be there that they actually showed up on time.

“We were here at 8:30 this morning, we were the only band here,” lead vocalist Christopher Nordahl said. “We actually followed the rules of the email.”

Scheduled at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, the band played an early show, but were still able to attract a crowd they were proud of.

“People were there, and that’s all you can really ask for,” Nordahl said.

Nordahl and Fitzgibbon with the rest of the band — bassist Ryan Curtis and drums Kent Hale — took to the stage and addressed the crowd with a simple “hello crowd.”

Nordahl said being able to see everyone’s faces was something new to him.

“It’s weird not being on the same level as everyone else and feeling their body heat,” Nordahl said.

They started with the song “Christian Ideas,” giving the chilled atmosphere a somewhat beach-y vibe.

Nordahl entered the stage wearing a pink button-down with the words “Big Service” in cursive on the back. As they transitioned from song to song, so did each button on Nordahl’s shirt as he loosened the blouse.

By the time they got to their eighth song out of 10, the shirt was completely off and chest hair was on. When asked if this was always a part of the routine, Nordahl said, “It has been known to happen.”

Nordahl was not afraid to show the crowd his all and didn’t shy away from giving the audience some memorable dance moves to take away. Nordahl said they are inspired from a mixture of a not-so-sober Madonna and David Byrne.

“I don’t think about it, I just do it,” Nordahl said.

The band is in the process of recording their first LP through Night Moves Records and is expected to release it next spring.

Sound on Sound: Phantogram strikes back

Phantogram plays Friday at Sound on Sound Fest at Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade. Photo contributed by Chad Wadsworth/Sound on Sound Fest
Phantogram plays Friday at Sound on Sound Fest at Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade. Photo contributed by Chad Wadsworth/Sound on Sound Fest

Without the chops, Phantogram goes buried in Spotify playlists as another synth-leaning buzz band. But the grandiose-scheming four-piece act on Friday showed the Dragon’s Lair stage what they’ve been cooking since 2014’s “Voices.”

Barreling right into “Black Out Days,” the band’s catchiest song to date, the Greenwich, New York outfit went fearless and shed the recent past. It was a cylinders-firing mission statement: We’re festival headliners now, get acquainted.

“You guys like that one don’t you?” singer and keyboardist Sarah Barthel said after trying out cuts from October’s new album “Three.”

“You guys ever drink for no reason?” she asked later. “We call that celebrating nothing.”

As she told the Charlotte Observer, producing songs for fellow Sound on Sound performer Big Boi gave Barthel the confidence to find a more bold stage persona who experiments with fashion. Friday night she donned thigh-high leather boots, shorts, and blonde hair. And while Barthel and co-songwriter, guitarist, and producer Josh Carter were not short on confidence, the new direction meant experimental, sorrow-laden music.

In January, Barthel’s sister committed suicide. Onstage she seems to have channeled the loss with all-in musical escapism. Even 2013’s “Fall in Love” blanketed takers with blaring, pulsing keyboards.

This was thunderous rock star headlining. This was industrial, lunch pale light and magic; an essential appearance by a band that’s made the leap to “night festival slots only.”