The Whiskey Shivers. ‘Nuff said.

I’m lost in a show, and this is why I’m at South By Southwest.

The White Horse is absolutely packed, but I’ve wiggled my way into a front row spot. The band on stage is called Whiskey Shivers and the crowd is falling in love with them.

“We’re that feeling of regret in the morning,” the band’s singer announced mid-set.

That’s exactly right. The music is dirty and dark, but it’s brimming with passion and realness. They brand it as “trash grass,” but if you’re interested in specificity, it’s the instrumentation and furious picking of bluegrass pumped up by the attitude and rock of alt-country.

I will seek them out again. I want more Whiskey Shivers. (But, please, no whiskey shivers.) This, as I wrote last week, is the reason to come to South By Southwest. I want to see Iggy Pop more than anything, but finding these new bands is thrilling.

In the same day, I had my bones rattled by Two Fresh. The Denver producer duo — twin brothers Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls — played at La Zona Rosa with a line around the block waiting to get in. The two were nothing but silhouettes, fronted and backed by a blinding light display. Anyone who resisted the urge to dance was surely soul-less (or on too many sedatives).

At the Driskill Hotel, I took in some songs from MilkDrive. The Austin Americana band didn’t blow me away the way Whiskey Shivers or Two Fresh did, but I know I’ll look them up.

Others will be looking these bands up, too, and they can do more for the musicians’ careers. I spoke with Bryan Lipman of Crescendo Artists, a national booking agency in Boulder, who filled me in on the value of the networking he’ll do at SXSW.

It’s still early. In between checking out Colorado bands I know and some I don’t know, I’ll be on a relentless hunt for something new. The moment when the Whiskey Shivers strutted into the crowd and started playing, circled by ecstatic fans, felt like brilliance. The move isn’t original, but the feeling is still powerful.

This is what music discovery should feel like. This is South-by.


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