During SXSW you hear about so many bands that are “the next big thing.” Usually they don’t live up to the hype, but there is the rare occasion when someone tells you about a band that turns out to be a gem. Chief is one such example. I was introduced to Chief band member, Michael Fujikawa, when I trekked across town to see another good band called Hungry Villagers. I typed “Chief” into my phone and filed it away.
Later on I bumped into Michael again, this time at The Love Language show where Chief ended up singing harmony for a band called Dawes. My interest was piqued, but I never tracked them down for a true performance in Austin. One visit to their MySpace page after arriving home made me regret it. The NY via LA band describes themselves as the offspring of Buffalo Tom and Oasis with Neil Young as an uncle.
In spite of the Oasis reference, I am loving this band. Their melodies wash over you and sink deep down into your being.‚ The boys may have moved out of California but their sunny roots have not abandoned them in their new home. After repeated listens, I would say that if you enjoy bands like Fleet Foxes and The Moondoggies, then Chief is for you. From the first verses of the opening track “Your Direction” to the last chords of “Nice People,” I felt that I had discovered a band that is ready to explode on to the scene.
The boys have recently signed to a well known label and are set to put out their debut later this year. They’re hitting Glastonbury and have some other dates set for Europe. Let’s hope they set up a proper US tour so I can right the wrong of not seeing them in Austin.