SXSW Boston & Beyond Artist Spotlight: Night Lights color in the gray areas of pop

Welcome to the latest in a week-long series of spotlights profiling the bands and artists performing at the Boston & Beyond party at SXSW, a collaborative effort between Berklee College of Music and Vanyaland. Our second-annual event — and Berklee’s 10th SXSW party overall — goes down Thursday, March 19 at Austin’s Brush Square Park, 409 East 5th St., next to the Convention Center. The party is co-presented by Berklee Alumni, The Red Room @ Cafe 939, and Heavy Rotation Records, and is all ages and open to SXSW badge holders. The public can email to attend free of charge. An oyster bar will be provided by Island Creek Oysters, and VanyaRadio will be streaming all the performances. More info and music links can be found here.

Night Lights, 4:45 p.m. set time

While Boston’s rock and roll scene chugs along at its usual breakneck pace, the city’s alt-pop circuit has forcefully emerged from the colleges and dance parties, making its own claim to the forever-debated sound of our town. Somewhere between the two circles is Night Lights, a band born here in Boston but whose members trace their lineage back to hometowns in Mexico, California, Japan, and Norway.

The geographical cocktail lends itself well to Night Lights’ slick, polished alt-pop sound, which takes its cues from sources as varied as their places of birth. After allowing two standout singles (“Hit The Water” and “Make Me Smile”) off Night Lights’ 2014 EP Here We Come to fully marinate (we premiered the video for the former earlier this month), the band sets their sights on national acclaim with the release of their debut LP this summer.

Fittingly, Night Lights are a snapshot of a larger, emerging picture of Boston, one that is embracing electronic and pop music basics to craft a fresh new sound in this traditionally rock and roll city. Night Lights’ 4:45 p.m. set unofficially kicks off the V:Music portion of Boston & Beyond, lining up some of our regions brightest beacons of electronic pop: Radclyffe Hall (5:30 p.m.), Yellerkin (6:15 p.m.) and St. Nothing (7 p.m.). It’s a showcase inside a party, and one people will be talking about in the years to come.

Follow Night Lights on Twitter @nghtlghts

SXSW 2015



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