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Future
SPIN Day Party
Stubbs

While Future’s disappointing Ray Ban x Boiler Room “set” was a complete bust for any and all in attendance, his set one day earlier at Stubb’s was every super-fan’s dream come true. Every inch of his legendary Atlanta urban radio run during the last four or so years was covered, from his features on songs like “Bugatti” and “Racks” to his own smash hits like “Karate Chop” and “Move That Dope.” In direct opposition to the setlist full of bangers, Future seemed quiet and humble between tracks, taking every possible opportunity to show love to his fans. Towards the end of the set he performed a track entitled “Good Morning” that he had to scrap from his upcoming album Honest. He very awkwardly skirted around the details when explaining the track’s origin to the crowd but from what I can gather it sounds like Future might be owed a writing/co-producer credit on Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love.” This was a revelatory, spaced-out sex jam of the highest order that could have been the biggest hit of Future’s career.  “I don’t think I’ll ever perform that song again,” he said, letting out a huge smile, slowly floating back to earth.

 

ShowYouSuck
Chicago Made Showcase
Red 7 Patio

While the Chicago Made Showcase at Red 7 will most likely be remembered by most for being shut down by the fire marshal less than halfway through headliner Chance The Rapper’s energetic set, I’ll remember it for introducing me to a wacky dude in a polka dot shirt. ShowYouSuck (from Chicago, duh) likes to rap about pizza, sex and VHS tapes. He’s energetic, funny and has great crowd control for someone who isn’t exactly a big name outside of the Chicago area. Everything about his demeanor suggests that he is only one or two big internet singles away from getting  a lot more mainstream attention. Some people might groan at the hooks like “You got boobs from an eighties movie” or question whether or not he is actually old enough to have actually made out with girls in the backseat while listening to Journey but most people will just see him for what he is, a shitload of fun.

 

Special Explosion
Topshelf Records Showcase
Soho Lounge

Special Explosion is a young-as-hell emo band out Seattle that sounds a lot like Built to Spill. Seriously, some of these songs could pass for Built to Spill covers. The thing is though; they are really good at being Built to Spill, like really really good. Brother-sister duo Andy and Lizzy Costello’s share lead vocal duty and its their chemistry as well as the strong instrumentation from the rest of the group that set’s them apart from the glut of bands trying to capture this sound in 2014. Special Explosion’s mix of math-rock, punk and emo is the kind of thing that Topshelf Records has built its reputation with over the last eight years. I’m not quite sure where we are on the whole “do emo bands despise the emo-revival label?” debate but let’s just say that if emo-revival did exist, then maybe these kids (seriously they are really young) will be an important band to watch over the next year.

 

The Range
Pitchfork Day Party 1
French Legation Museum

The Range (real name James Hinton) is a producer out Providence, Rhode Island who specializes in killer dance grooves often accompanied by obscure/vaguely threatening spoken-word clips that sound like they are ripped straight to his laptop via YoutubetoMp3.  His set was heavy on select hits from his critically lauded Nonfiction LP from last year as well as tracks from his straight up excellent Panasonic EP that just released in the last few days. The crowd seemed rather small given that similar acts like SOPHIE and Cashmere Cat seemed to get a lot more attention at the same place only a few hours earlier but for everyone who was paying attention was crammed up to the front, having an incredible time. Outside of hearing a notable Illmatic sample get thrown in on a track from his new EP, the most exciting part of the set was the slow and steady build up into a slightly off-kilter remix of Drake’s “Pound Cake.”

 

Migos
Noisey Brisk Bodega
The Main II

The crowd at the Noisey Brisk Bodega has to be one of the worst I have ever been in. Too little enthusiasm for the smaller acts on the bill & too much enthusiasm for $7 swigs of vodka mixed with a crappy iced tea brand that most people probably thought didn’t exist anymore. Pretty much the only sign of life from these Brisk-loving bastards was their reaction to “Versace” and “Hannah Montana” by new Atlanta mixtape kings Migos. I was happy to hear a good mix of some of their bigger crossover hits as well as plenty of great new material like “Fight Night” & “First 48” from the exceptional “No Label II” mixtape. After experiencing the pure unadulterated mildness of the crowd at the Brisk Bodega, I don’t necessarily blame Migos for skipping out on their Fader Fort set two days later. Also, their outfits were seriously amazing.

 

You Blew It!
Topshelf Records Showcase
Soho Lounge

Orlando band You Blew It! started off their set at the Topshelf day party with what seemed like a sigh of relief. Due to yet another fire marshal shutdown as well as reverberations from the tragic hit-and-run incident in front of The Mohawk, two of their sets scheduled for earlier that week had been canceled. Maybe I was just misinterpreting lead singer Tanner Jones’ intense migraines but this performance felt passionate in a way that no other rock performance I saw during the week really lived up to. Whether they like it or not You Blew It! have been pushed to the forefront as one of the “faces” of emo-revival by several media outlets. There are definitely emo elements at play but I’d say they more closely resemble the celebratory rock of Japandroids rather than the gloom-and-doom of Sunny Day Real Estate. Jones apologized for playing mostly new songs but the crowd sang along just as hard to the new as it did the old. The reckless abandon and genuine love from the audience was a refreshing change of pace from the majority of the people I encountered at SXSW. As I watched a kid nearly die when he almost got crowd surfed straight to the bottom of a massive flight of stairs only to then laugh it off like it was no big deal, I couldn’t help but laugh too.

 

Written by: Nathan Kerce

 
Future photo credit: JJ Posway

 

One Response to “Nathan’s SXSW Highlights”

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