Ziggy Stardust. The King of Rock and Roll. We all know and love these two legendary musicians, but did you know that they share the same birthday? No? Don’t feel out of the loop, I didn’t either until two weeks ago when I first heard about a local event called BowiElvis Fest.
Splice Records’ 10th annual BowiElvis Fest was held on Saturday, January 12 at Austin’s Barracuda. Honoring the birthdays of David Bowie and Elvis Presley, two of the most beloved and influential artists of the previous century, this year’s event featured music by Swimwear Department, Pecos Hank, Brian Scartocci and Henry + The Invisibles. Sponsors included Old Humble Whiskey Distillery, Deep Eddy Vodka, Texas Direct Insurance, and Splice’s main sponsor, Lone Star Beer.
I couldn’t wait for Saturday to get here. I mean, really. What better way to celebrate these revolutionary artists than to suit up and rock out to their timeless tunes? I spent a good hour teasing both my and my boyfriend’s hair (yes, he reluctantly let me) and was so excited to glam up my makeup with bright, sparkly colors.
Upon arriving we grabbed a Lone Star beer, Splice’s newest sponsor, and I soon hopped in line to complete my Ziggy get-up with his iconic lightning bolt face paint, courtesy of the singers in Swimwear Department. Now that my ensemble was complete, it was time to get some snaps with the men in celebration.
The music festivities kicked off with Pecos Hank, a musician, songwriter, filmmaker and professional storm chaser based in Houston, Texas. We thoroughly enjoyed his Elvis covers and rockabilly riffs that got our feet moving and grooving.
Swimwear Department was next up on stage, each member decked out in costumes from the classic Bowie movie The Labyrinth. Featuring Matt Graham, Jack Gordon, Jeremy, Grisbee, and Ned Gayle, Swimwear Department is a post-punk rock band from Houston, Texas. Truly one of my highlights of the night, Swimwear Department’s set delivered energy, laughs, and tons of fantastic Bowie Covers.
Brian Scartocci then graced us with his retro-soul tunes that I couldn’t stop dancing to (so much that I nearly forgot to take pictures). Having recently interviewed him (read all about it here), Brian’s performance was one I looked forward to most, and his warm, inviting melodies certainly didn’t disappoint.
To wrap up the evening, “one man funk band” Henry + The Invisibles delivered a mesmerizing, groovy set that perfectly emitted the spirit of Ziggy Stardust. Frontman Henry Roland not only sings but also backs his tracks by playing a myriad of instruments. Truly a unique talent, Henry + The Invisibles is an Austin must-see.
Oh! And we can’t forget about all the other funky costumes that attendees rocked. Check out some of our favorites below along with the impromptu limbo contest.
BowiElvis will easily become one of my favorite Austin traditions, and I already can’t wait to see what Splice Records dishes up next year. For more information on BowiElvis Fest, Splice Records, and their other annual event River Revival, visit http://www.splicerecordstx.com/. You won’t want to miss these events next year!
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.