The RM64 / Propellerhead SXSW Austin Day Party went down at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street, right in the heart of the Downtown SXSW madness, on Friday.
We arrived just in time to catch Gordon Voidwell and his band, an electro-pop act from Brooklyn NYC featuring a drummer, a keyboard player on M-Audio and Alesis keyboards, and Zendrum player Guillermo E. Brown (pictured), who uses the futuristic shoulder-strapped MIDI controller to trigger sounds from his laptop. Voidwell's up-tempo, synth-centric sound is rhythm heavy, somewhere in between the soulful showmanship of Morris Day & Time and classic synth-driven sounds of Kraftwerk. It's quirky, clean, bouncy and really catchy. Sot of an '80s vibe upated with neo
We stuck around for Fitz & The Tantrums (below), a five piece minimal Motown-style soul-pop outfit featuring Fitz on lead vocals, Noelle Scaggs singing backup vocals, John Wicks on drums, James King on sax, Ethan Phillips on bass and Jeremy Ruzumna on keyboards. Their high-energy set was fun and raucous, soulful and tinged with just enough pop sensibility to hook every ear in the venue. Bassist Ethan Phillips finessed his Fender P-Bass -- which he was playing though a Gallien-Krueger RB-800 head, Peavey 4x10 and 1x15 cabinets -- holding down the groove with a nice rotund sound that provided the band's underpinning Motown vibe. Ruzumma, on a pair of Nords, and sax player King handled the musical melodic duties while Fitz and Scaggs showed off an amazing on-stage chemistry and fantastic voices. The music was so moving, there wasn't a still body in the room throughout their set.