Each day during SXSW, from roughly 6 to 8 pm, everyone gets a chance to catch their second wind. Most showcases kick everyone out to prep for the headliners (I like to assume the venues and staff spend these two precious hours doing sound check, picking up trash, and taking power naps behind the bar).
It was during this lull that I wandered over to Icenhauer's for a quick respite and found Eighty Ninety on stage.
Abner and Harper James are brothers from Brooklyn, who marry soft pop melodies with acoustic guitars and glossy synths. I watched as the crowd leaned closer and closer into their sound. I found myself doing the same. By the time they reached the end of their set, I was back on my feet and offering to treat them to tacos.
- Over two bowls of queso, I learned the following:
SXSW was the band’s first time in Texas. In addition to multiple shows in Austin, they also were able to stop for a set in Dallas.
- Their single “Your Favorite Song” recently scaled Billboard’s Velocity Chart, and caught the attention of Taylor Swift, who added it to her own playlist.
- Their band name was selected as something flexible and can be linked to some fun connotations like speed limits, decades, or liquor proofs.
Eighty Ninety’s polished work (heard here) is beautiful, but I can’t stress enough that their live acoustics are something special. Abner’s bedroom pop vocals are backed by acoustic and electric guitars. The brothers burst into a few heavy instrumental arches that were particularly impressive.
There is a 99 percent chance fans of The 1975 and LANY will love the sound of Eighty Ninety. Enjoy.