SXSW Live Shot: London Grammar

UK trip-hoppers taken down by tacos

Let’s be honest... It’s my fault for ever assuming the remote possibility that Taco Bell was invested in creating a meaningful environment for live music. Those priorities don’t line up. That’s why the Hype Hotel’s stage was barely off the ground, rendering it impossible for anyone to see the bands outside of the first few rows of people.

That’s also why the hosts were tossing out an endless stream of free drinks, food, and reservation inquiries to build a crowd that couldn’t give a shit about the basic respect of watching an artist perform. You reap what you sow, and the Hype Hotel made its priorities clear.

Photo by Sandy Carson

Meanwhile, Hannah Reid has one of the best voices at this entire festival. London Grammar’s debut long-player, 2013’s If You Wait – due again soon on Columbia Records – whirs with subtle, pinging, post-Portishead trip-hop that washes over your person and then some. God bless them for trying.

Their set started a half-hour late, and was effectively sabotaged by the constant bar-fueled chatter. “Wasting My Young Years” tried ever so desperately to cut through the fog. Welcome to the ugly underbelly of SXSW Music.

And here’s the thing. I’m not against advertising. I’m not against sponsorship. But if you’re going to use a band’s presence to promote your brand, you have to at least pretend you care about them and their set. Time for Taco Bell to step its game up.

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London Grammar, SXSW Music 2014, Hannah Reid, Portishead

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