Sunday night at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater was a shocking revelation of indie music and an eye-opening peak into an Austin subculture I was not aware was so prevalent, hipsterdom. The Dutch/Norwegian indie, electro-rock band Klangstof opened the night to a sold-out venue and a sea of ironically trendy 21st century beatniks and bohemians.
Needless to say, for all of my perceived individuality I felt like a grain of sand at the beach. On first sight, I was not enthused. But, quickly I forgot my first world woes when the Amsterdam-based musicians hijacked my senses with their rhythmic combination of Koen Van der Wardt’s dreamy vocals and the synthed-out, oscillating electro-rock of pianist Wannes Salome, guitarist Jobo Engh, and percussionist Jun Christian Villanueva.
With strong, almost dreary lyrics Klangstof quickly created an atmosphere that reminded me of rainy nights in Brooklyn spent stoically staring through a condensation covered window while contemplating fair trade coffee shops, Whole Foods, and the injustices of gentrification. Sound familiar, Austinites? Their debut album, Close Eyes To Exit, released in 2016 under the label Mind of a Genius Records, was a chart topper landing them a much deserved spot at Coachella in 2017 as the first Dutch band to play the festival. Klangstof is an indie-rock, electro-synth band that is sure to continue to makes waves in the rising ocean of ultramodern, nonconformist, oddballs of the hipster nation.
In their first non-festival appearance in Austin, the headlining Miike Snow did not disappoint. This triad of Swedish and American musicians have found a home in the indie-rock and alternative hearts of the pop community. At times, I found it difficult to hear the micro-phoned lead singer Andrew Wyatt over the elevated and inebriated, off-tone fans screaming word for word the lyrics to their favorite songs.
This indie sensation created a tsunami of mustaches and pigtails, much like the ones I so carefully braided onto my scalp mere hours before, that swayed in sweaty unison as only the hive mind of the iconoclast collective can. Seemingly all attempting to get as close to the stage as possible, however unattainable that goal appeared to be. The Swedish producing duo of Christian Kaarlsson and Pontus Winnberg switched instruments as often as a chain smoker lights a cigarette but with much better grace and more pleasing results.
Miike Snow has released three studio albums respectfully titled Miike Snow (2009), Happy to You (2012) , and iii (2016) all under Downtown Records with iii also receiving distribution from Atlantic Records. Finally able to check the alternative, indie-rock, electro-pop Miike Snow off my list of live music must-sees…and if you haven’t had the opportunity, I assure you that the juice is worth the squeeze.
Check out some photos below I captured from the show.
Photos and review by: Demetrius Judkins