ACL Review: Keeper

Intimate sounds in a not-so-intimate environment

A honeysuckle sweet Austin vocal trio, Keeper fought the elements, other bands, and the enormity of the Miller Lite stage. Leading up to Friday’s 11:30am performance, the synth-soul act’s latest EP, the dark and introspective Bird Peterson-produced Corners, dropped. Then, Thursday, Oct. 6, was proclaimed by the city as Keeper Day.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Riding strong recent performances, the group headed into ACL with momentum. Being on the festival’s lineup is an achievement in and of itself, but times and stages for acts can make or break performances. Miller Lite was likely not the optimal choice for intimate tracks ready-made for intimate settings.

The Corners material as well as Moonhigh’s “Next to Me,” skittering Nineties R&B, mostly worked. So did synth stormer “You Ain’t Hittin,” which was slightly muffled by increasing wind and the vastness from where the three ladies were forced to operate. They also fought a rock band, Bear Hands on the Cirrus Logic stage, for control of local airwaves.

Yadira Brown, Erin Jantzen, and Kate Priestly – the latter currently playing shows in place of departed member Lani Camille Thomison – couldn’t find vocal connection on “Not Done,” however. With producer BoomBaptist on the laptop and voice box, a cover of Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely” also wasn’t very successful. Guest verses from Magna Carda MC Megz Kelli to close the 45-minute set fared better.

Ultimately, though the group remains on the rise, unless played by a live band in the future, their music’s built for smaller venues where Keeper’s vocals aren’t competing to be heard.

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More Keeper
SXSW Record Reviews
Moonhigh (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, March 18, 2016

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Keeper, ACL Fest 2016, Yadira Brown, Erin Jantzen, Kate Priestly, Lani Camille Thomison, BoomBaptist, Magna Carda, Megz Kelli, Janet Jackson

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