The Radio Day Stage inside the Austin Convention Center turned out to be a good place to camp out when the rain finally arrived at South by Southwest Thursday afternoon. This was local station KUTX’s day to host the live broadcast carried on several stations nationally, and they had a diverse lineup that included Twin Shadow, Gang of Four, Ryan Bingham, Best Coast, Madison Ward & the Mama Bear and Courtney Barnett.
We caught the middle part of the bill. By Bingham’s standards, this was a pretty laid-back gig. His last two local appearances were a big Austin Music Hall show with Lucero and a jammed special solo event at Holy Mountain, and he’s scheduled to headline tonight’s free Auditorium Shores show.
But it was easy riding for this 40-minute set. Bingham and his bandmates Jedd Hughes (guitar), Shawn Davis (bass) and Nate Barnes (drums) all were seated, keeping the vibe low-key and the focus squarely on the country-folk-rock songwriting. They focused on tunes from his recently released record “Fear and Saturday Night” including such as “Broken Heart Tattoos” and “Top Shelf Drug.” Particularly well-suited for the Radio Day Stage setting was the new album track “Radio”:
The intensity turned up a big when indie-pop group Best Coast hit the stage a few minutes past 3 p.m., drawing a large throng to the lip of the stage as they played an abbreviated set of seven songs (about 25 minutes) that included the title tracks of their 2010 debut “Crazy For You” and 2012’s follow-up “The Only Place.”
Between those two, the band introduced the title track to their upcoming May 4 release “California Nights,” one of two new tunes they unveiled that hinted at a bit more of a psychedelic direction.