Ditch the Fest Fest: BK & Mr. E

In and amongst all the hype surrounding the Austin City Limits festival, there is another quite extensive festival going on this weekend. Ditch the Fest Fest is your local alternative to the ACL behemoth. With over 75 bands stretched across five different Red River and Eastside venues, and a slight $5 cost for a wristband ($2 if you only want to attend one venue), Saturday’s DtFF is a great option for those feeling left out by the ACL hype. Later in the week, we’ll put together another quick-guide for DtFF (we’ve covered even more of these artists than the ACL ones), but today we want to take the opportunity to look at another of the artists performing: BK & Mr. E.

I’ve said before that The Daily Texan can be a surprisingly informative source for new music. I saw an interview the other day with Brendon Hager and Jason Blanchette, the two members of BK & Mr. E. I had never heard of this duo, but the interview was pretty entertaining and then I saw they’re on the bill for DtFF. What really intrigued me in the interview was that these guys are classically trained, but started making songs modeled after the Cars, Prince and the Police. As a fan of early 80s new wave, I knew I had to check them out.

BK & Mr. E - Sand

I don’t think they got “the Cars” in songs like this, but what they achieved is still awesome. Over the course of the four songs on their Company Front EP, they showcase their 80s influences while remaining totally contemporary. BK & Mr. E make danceable indie funk that, while retro in some ways, remains forward-looking. Just don’t be put off by the marching band uniforms they wear. It may seem like a gimmick, but this is legit dance music. You can catch their act at 2:40 on Saturday on the inside stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s, or pick up their EP (name your own price) here.