SXSW 2014 – Do you like Mumford and Sons but actually enjoy music other than folk? Well, you’ll love Streets of Laredo

I listen to a lot of college radio these days. And, that’s where I first heard Streets of Laredo. I’ve been spinning their two EPs via Spotify for a couple of weeks prior to the fest, and Streets of Laredo was definitely on my watch list, but I wasn’t sure if they had the staying power to make their way into the schedule. Luckily, on the last night of South By, they had an early 7p set in the Hilton Hotel Bar (which, honestly was really odd doubling as a venue), near where we were going to grab dinner that evening. 

Seriously, the set up was weird. It was not like a bar in a hotel, it was a hotel bar. You know the kind – booths, tables, a hostess stand – think, a glorified Applebee’s, if you will.

Tables had obviously been cleared on one side of the establishment, where risers were set up as a stage – maybe 16 x 8 feet. And on it, a 7-piece band would go. There were some apparent sound issues, as the soundmen kept racing around, in their hotel/conference standard issued tan slacks, button down shirts, and ties. Quite a sight. The band looked quite the folk-ie part, but I got really inquisitive when I saw a MacBook make its way to the stage, as well as two drum pads (which, sidenote: seemed to be all over the place this year).  

With all the equipment and sound issues, it took them some time to set up. But, before they began, they apologized and thanked the crowd for sticking around. And, I was glad we did. 

There was no lack of energy during their set. This New Zealand family band – lead vocals was brother to the percussionist who’s wife was backup vocalist – may be the front runners of an alt-folk movement that has yet to even be conceived. 

My summation is much like my title: They’re like Mumford and Sons, except every song doesn’t sound the same, but honestly, they don’t even sound like Mumford and Sons. Also, they have much more instrumentation, including electronic instruments, which makes this band that much more diverse and lets them really explore past the normal folk soundscape.

Americana and folk fans, take notice of New Zealand’s  Streets of Laredo. Stream their latest EP, Streets of Laredo EP Vol. II, in its entirety, below.


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