In many ways, SXSW is a less-than-ideal place to see a band. Sets are usually limited to 30 minutes, and by the end of the day, you're so fried and half deaf that all but the strongest acts escape real notice. My own not-really-a-problem problem is that lots of my friends are here, so whenever I see one, we race to the back of the club and scream in to each other's ears to catch up, while only half hearing the band. Because of this, I offer my apologies to Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Blind Pilot, and Obits, all of whom sounded good in between bouts of yelling.
But even the longest-lost of besties could not have kept me from watching BLK JKS (pictured), a South African band recently signed to Secretly Canadian. Their set started out jammy and a little janky, but by the time they played their two most well-known tracks, "Summertime," and "Lakeside," they were fully in the groove. Described as "Graceland done by actual Africans" and "Vampire Weekend, except authentic" the band is either the purest representation of South African rhythms or a rip-off of a rip-off, returned to its roots. Either way, the sounded great, and the drummer had some phat dreads to top it off. -Cortney Harding