Kopecky Family Band at SXSW 2011

SXSW, back in the day before the label model began to crumble under the freedom of digital music, was originally a marketplace for labels to find new, exciting, unsigned bands.  For me, that remains the best part of SXSW.  You can have the Foo Fighters, Kanye West and Strokes shows.  I want to search out, or even better stumble upon, the best of what’s next.  I have already shared some of my new gems (The Relatives and Shake Anderson) in Found Gospel at SXSW 2011.  I have saved the best for last.

I had the Kopecky Family Band on my must see list for SXSW 2011.  I don’t know how I missed them in 2010.  I was thrilled when the day one Paste party had Kopecky Family Band, Civil Wars and Lost In The Trees.  Of course, I was standing outside in a line while the Civil Wars performed their set of dusty, old west harmonic anthems, but it did not matter, I was here to see the Kopecky’s.

Kopecky Family Band SXSW 2011 Paste

My first impression of Kopecky Family Band, was ‘joy”.  Despite trying to cram six players onto a stage the size of a desk for their third show of the day, the members of the band were happy, friendly and professional as they went through their set-up and soundcheck.  There was no “rock star” attitude here.  I remember as Kelsey Kopecky said to the sound engineer, “Please mr. sound man, could I have more vocal in my monitor. Oh, you are so wonderful.”  It may not sound like much, but in these noisy, cramped, 20 minute band turnovers, I am pretty sure the sound engineer welcomed a kind voice from the 9th band on that stage that day.

However, if the Kopecky Family Band were just nice, I would not rate them as my favorite show of SXSW 2011.  After reflecting on great sets from the Civil Wars, River City Extension, The Rocket Boys, Lost In The Trees and Okervill River, Kopecky Family Band was my favorite.  From the moment they struck the first beat to the uproarious end to their set, they captivated the audience with their energetic stage presence and their thick, layered music. 

Kelsey Kopecky is the dancing center of their stage act, Gabe Simon‘s impassioned vocals command attention and Markus Midkiff, refusing to be confined to his cello, moves around the stage mischievously banging the drums, the xylophone or a tambourine.  Kopecky Family Band really do create a riot, in a good way.  Take a little taste with this video of Kopecky Family Band’s performance of “Animal”  at SXSW 2011.

Kopecky Family Band were tireless at SXSW 2011 playing at least five shows that I knew about.  I had too many responsibilities to follow them around during SXSW 2011, but that would have been fun.  Paste named them one of the 10 best shows at SXSW 2011.  They were my favorite.  Keep checking back, we will be adding Kopecky Family Band to our artist roster soon and we are trying to put together an interview with them.

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