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After hearing about Los Angeles folk rockers Lord Huron on various podcasts, they quickly secured a place in my heart. Between the anthemic woah-oh-oh’s and playful drum beats, I knew this would be a set not to miss at SxSW.
As my first stop of the night, I didn’t know what to expect. Would the Austin City Limits showcase at Austin’s Moody Theater be packed? After running through the streets of downtown Austin and being tempted by the drumming echoing out of every door left and right along the way – I stumbled into the Moody Theater floor to find it almost empty. Ten minutes to show time, I secured a spot front and center of the stage with about 30 other fans on the floor.
After a brief soundcheck, frontman Ben Schneider took the stage with his band mates and launched directly into a beautifully crafted 40-minute set including all of the favorites from their debut LP Lonesome Dreams. Personal favorites included “Time To Run,” “The Man Who Lives Forever,” and “Ends of the Earth.”
I was so happy to see that halfway through the set I turned around to see a full floor and half packed balcony. Schneider is a joy to watch on stage and Lord Huron is certainly a band to keep your eye on. Lord Huron has been described as Fleet Foxes-esque and Lonesome Dreams is an album not to miss. While it received some good feedback on the press circuit the band seems to still be floating under the radar. I reveled in this opportunity to see them in such an intimate setting while their are still up-and-coming. In chatting with my fellow earlybirds I found that almost all of us had just heard about the band by word-of-mouth from friends and a blog here and there. For my first night in Austin, this set was my hidden gem.
When I was singing along with Schneider with the line, “I love this world and I don’t want to leave it,” all I could think of is how surreal the SxSW world is – an entire downtown cityscape packed with people from all over the country (and world) seeing bands you never thought you’d see. This was my first set of the first night and I was already head over heels for Austin.