Berklee's 10th Annual SXSW Party: Boston and Beyond

Margot Edwards
February 24, 2015
Press release
Radclyffe Hall
Night Lights
Joy Daniels
The Ballroom Thieves
Grey Season
O Conqueror
St. Nothing
Hooka Hey
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Taylor Paige
Photo by Bobby Villareal
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Barbara FG

Berklee, the only college to host an official party at the SXSW Music Festival, presents its SXSW Party: Boston and Beyond on Thursday, March 19, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Brush Square Park West Tent, located at 409 East 5th Street (Neches and 5th), Austin, Texas. Berklee’s 10th annual SXSW Party is presented by The Red Room @ Cafe 939, Alumni Affairs, Heavy Rotation Records (HRR), and media sponsor Vanyaland.

Vanyaland will stream the event at and at VanyaRadio.

The party features up-and-coming Berklee alumni and students performing rock, pop, electronic, Americana, and folk. Artists include Joy Daniels, Avers, Hooka Hey, O Conqueror, Grey Season (HRR), The Ballroom Thieves, Night Lights (HRR), Radclyffe Hall, Yellerkin, and St. Nothing.

Check out the artists on VanyaRadio's Boston and Beyond sampler:

This year, Berklee has added a second stage for acoustic sets. Students Rachael Wolff, Sean Trainor, and Jacob George, and alumni Lady Rogo and Oliver Monaco will perform in between bands. They will also play on Saturday, March 21, at the Berklee Guitar and Songwriting Showcase at 2:00 p.m. in St. David's Bethel Hall.

Berklee’s SXSW Party: Boston and Beyond is all ages and open to SXSW badge holders. The public can email to attend free of charge.

Artists in Order of Appearance

Watch the video for Joy Daniels' 'Heavy'

Joy Daniels is a Los Angeles-based alumna, singer-songwriter, and producer who fuses innovative hip-hop and passionate vocals to lyrics and music that explore the complexities of the human spirit. Daniels has released the albums Electric Soul Music and Joy After the Rain; has performed recently with Stevie Wonder, Sam Smith, and Bastille in concert; and has appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The American Music Awards, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Watch the video for Avers' 'The Only One'

Avers, from Richmond, Virginia, is psychedelic pop, blistering garage rock, and fuzzed-out shoegaze band all in one. With its amps cranked high and voices doused in reverb, Avers brew a spacey swirl. The group formed with Head and the Heart's Tyler Williams on drums and James Mason, James Lloyd Hodges, alumna Alexandra Spalding, Adrian Olsen, and Charlie Glenn swapping between bass, guitar, and keyboard. Its debut, Empty Light, came out in 2014.

Watch the video for Hooka Hey's 'Hush Me'

Hooka Hey, from Austin, Texas, plays heavy grooves steeped in the blues. Its smoky, sludgy sound is dense and charged like an approaching rainstorm. The band is composed of Alex Kane (bass), Hugo de Saint Quentin (guitar), Jesse Houghton (guitar), and alumnus Ethan Yeager (drums). KUTX’s Austin Music Minute said of Hooka Hey, “There’s a reverence here for the kind of serious rockin’ out that leaves you sweaty, grimy and wanting more.”

Watch the video for O Conqueror's 'Lost Your Mind'

O Conqueror was formed in 2012 by songwriter Dustin Doering (vocals) in Austin, Texas. They have since become a collective endeavor consisting of Justin Green (guitar), Mike Fisher (bass, backing vocals), Pedro Corsetti (drums), and alumnus Alex Hartley (keyboard). The group is preparing to release its second album, on which it promises a melodic journey of catchy brooding hooks folded into ambient folk with elements of delta blues and psychedelic western.

Watch Grey Season perform 'Mama, You Been On My Mind'

Grey Season (HRR) performs five-part harmony, blues-rooted guitar solos between wholehearted lyricism, and memorable melodies driven by bouzoukis and banjos. Benny Grotto (producer for Dresden Dolls) and Grammy–winner Justin Guip produced its debut album at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, New York. The group is composed of Ian Jones (bass, vocals); alumni Jon Mills (guitar, vocals, bouzouki) and Matt Knelman (guitar, vocals); and students Chris Bloniarz (banjo, piano, mandolin, vocals), and Ben Burns (drums, vocals). Grey Season appears on HRR’s Dorm Sessions 10. Stream the compilation on SoundCloud.

Watch The Ballroom Thieves perform 'Storms'

The Ballroom Thieves consists of Devin Mauch (percussion), alumna Calin Peters (cello), and Martin Earley (guitar), with a style that blends folk conventions with modern hymnals, and delta blues with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while also rejecting its restrictions. Supporting its debut, A Wolf in the Doorway, the Ballroom Thieves will open the next Boston Calling Festival featuring the Pixies, My Morning Jacket, and St. Vincent.

Watch Night Lights perform 'Here We Come'

Night Lights (HRR) brings together students and alumni with a world of indie, rock, and soul influences, striking a balance between profound lyrics, hooky melodies, and danceable music. Yusuke Sato’s intricate riffs, Drew Story’s warped soundscapes, Jeff Kinsey’s melodic bass, Dag Hanken’s colorful rhythms, and Mau Jiminez’s captivating guitar and otherworldly voice effects combine for an audio adventure. Night Lights appeared on HRR’s Dorm Sessions 9. The band’s forthcoming EP was produced by Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse).

Watch the video for Radclyffe Hall's 'OMG'

Radclyffe Hall is composed of alumni Dhy Berry (keys/vocals), Jaqui Rae Stewart (keys/vocals), and Carl Harkness (drums), and student Sean Camargo (drums), and began as an experiment in analog and digital production, ultimately coalescing around Berry’s groove-heavy compositions and dance-pop aesthetics. In their recordings and live shows, Radclyffe Hall has solidified an indelible sonic signature of pulsating live and programmed beats, ethereal vocals, and fuzzy bass lines.

Watch the video for Yellerkin's 'Solar Laws'

Yellerkin is a rising indie duo from Brooklyn composed of Adrian Galvin and alumnus Luca Buccellati, childhood friends who have known each other for over 20 years. Originally from the woods of Katonah, New York, they reunited after college, helping one another to yell their stories of love and family. In 2014, Yellerkin released its debut self-titled EP, which features the single "Solar Laws." The duo recently opened up for Dr. Dog and is preparing to release new music.

Listen to St. Nothing's 'Echoes'

St. Nothing is a string-driven electropop group consisting of Marco Lawrence (singer-songwriter, producer), Sophia Carreras (guitar), Meredith Nero (viola), Jenna Calabro (cello), and alumnus Felix Nicholson (drums). In the past year, the group was nominated for two Boston Music Awards, opened the Boston Calling Music Festival, and performed with artists such as Juana Molina, Young Galaxy, Alpine, and Freezepop. The group is working on its debut album.