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Photo by Hannah Turner

From left, Gypsy guitarist Dave North, drummer Ben Baron, vocalist Payton Keller and bass guitarist Devin North play a SXSW gig Saturday night at Maria’s in Ausitin.

By Hannah Turner

Contributing Writer

It’s a chance of a lifetime for high school kids to get to play Austin’s famed South by South West. For one Westlake High School band, this year’s dream turned into a reality.

Gypsy, comprised of Westlake students Ben Baron, Dave North, Devin North and Pflugerville student Payton Keller, are performing at four SXSW shows. The band is excited about not only playing the shows, but reaping the benefits of such a prestigious venue.

“It’s a sign of professionalism and gets us a lot of publicity and credibility,” drummer Ben Baron said.

The band came together by happenstance and has been playing together ever since. Gypsy has been playing for around seven months now.

“We all went to School of Music Austin, south location for a camp and recorded an album together,” vocalist Payton Keller said. “Then we played at Antones and decided to be a band.”

Gypsy plays a variety of music, including covers and original songs. However, their main focus has a vintage rock feel that they say was inspired by many artists that include Dave Sebree, Elton John, Queen, Deep Purple, The Who and Rush.

“We play classic ’70s blues rock, mainly British and Austin bands,” bass guitarist Devin North said.

Playing music means the world to Gypsy members. It has become a part of how they express themselves, and how they gain respect in the Live Music Capital of the World.

“It’s an expression of who you are when you can’t articulate it in any other way,” Devin North said. “Knowing what you’re doing when you’re doing it and meaning what you play is what music is about.”

Lead guitarist Dave North added, “If you play music tastefully, you can get a lot of respect.”

SXSW is an incredible venue to play, and Gypsy members want people to continue hearing their sound.

“We want to play everywhere, anywhere that’s in front of people; I don’t care where we play,” Keller said.

Though Gypsy isn’t currently signed with a label, they haven’t let that stop the rapid growing number of original songs they’ve written.

“We aren’t signed, but hopefully we will be at some point,” Dave Noorth said. “You don’t really have to be signed anymore though; it’s all self-marketing. I mean, Macklemore went quadruple platinum without being signed.”

Gypsy plays private events, as well as larger shows around Austin. This summer, the band will be touring all over Texas. For more about Gypsy, visit them on Facebook or on their website at gypsyatx.com.
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  1. Vicky Abney says:

    Fun beginning for a band, can’t wait to hear more about Gypsy. I like their initiative. And good job, journalist, on a well-written feature!

  2. Big Gypsy Fan!! says:

    I had the chance to see them at SXSW this past week and they are AWESOME! David North is an amazing lead guitar player and his solo in “Highway Star” by Deep Purple is really, really impressive! He and his brother are a dynamic duo who started playing when they were at West Ridge and they have a huge future in music ahead of them! The band played last year at the annual end of the year celebration tailgate hamburger/hotdog cookout party that Mr. Waggoner throws for his staff and students. Ben and Payton are very talented as well and adds spice to the band. You will be seeing them someday at the Grammy’s picking up a music award no doubt. Whenever you get the chance to see them-check them out!

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