SXSW is quickly becoming one of our favorite music festivals thanks to all the artists, genres, and industry players that hit Austin, TX for a week every year. For our second time down in ATX for this great festival, we saw shows from artists we know from Chicago like ShowYouSuck and Marrow, mainstream acts like Earl Sweatshirt and Future, to acts we’d never heard of before but genuinely enjoyed discovering like Chocolate Tiger and others. Of all the great things and dope shows we came across last week in Texas, here are the dopest things we saw (*in no particularly ranked order) at SXSW ’14.
Vic Mensa at Converse & Thrasher’s Death Match
One of our main goals at SXSW was to at least watch one of Vic Mensa’s many sets. We definitely achieved that goal and unknowingly chose the best showcase to see the SAVEMONEY rep at. The Converse & Thrasher indoor venue was an intimate setting with a packed crowd of only around 100 people. The awesome part was that everyone that was there was pumped to see Vic and he felt the same way. He delivered an amazing set with INNANETAPE joints, new joints and the KTD favorite, “Don’t Harsh My Mellow.” The crowd-surfing and moshing took it to a whole other level.
Schoolboy Q at SPIN – STUBB’S
Another goal for the POD crew was to watch Schoolboy at least one time while in Austin. Come Friday, we were able to do just that. Fresh off of his Oxymoron release, Schoolboy drew a nice little crowd for a pretty early show (2:30pm). Q ran through tracks off of the new project along with some tracks off Habits & Contradictions. His performance of “There He Go” was one of my favorites. Despite being cut off (due to the show running behind on schedule) and not being able to perform “Man Of The Year,” Q put on a hell of show.
Childish Gambino – Butler Park
I’m not sure if SXSW held any shows at Butler Park last year, but if they did, we missed out. While we weren’t able to make it out to see Foster The People the night before, we made sure to make the trip to see Gambino extra early on Saturday on the shuttle bus. Thanks SXSW! Thanks to the bus, we made it early enough to see The Cool Kids rock the stage. The crowd reached over 20k once Gambino hit the stage and the crowd was jumping right from the start. Proof of that can be found below. Childish promised he would put on the show of his life just days before and he really did keep his promise. The very energetic Gambino ran through joints off of because the internet as well as many of his classics throughout the second leg of the set.
Future & Bun B – SPIN at STUBB’S
Future brought out Bun B to perform “Draped Up.” That alone was a “Top 5” moment of the entire trip for sure. It also helps that Future put on a dope show filled with his many hits like “Racks,” “Same Damn Time,” “Tony Montana” and his most recent single, “Move That Dope.” We weren’t even supposed to make it in to check out Future’s headlining set due to leaving the showcase area after Schoolboy’s set to eat inside of Stubb’s itself and then the ridiculous line to get back in would’ve dragged too long for us to see much. Thankfully, we found a VIP entrance and worked our way to the crowd right at the start of Future’s set. Sorry Stubb’s, we’ll make it up next year and buy some more food or something.
The Orwells – SPIN at STUBB’S
Their reputation as one of the most exciting young bands around today is well-deserved and their set at SPIN’s showcase at STUBB’S helped enforce that. Although it was a short set, it was packed with fan-favorites like “Mallrats,” and “Other Voices,” but it absolutely blew up when the band went into their hit single, “Who Needs You.” The band was on point and front-man Mario Cuomo was up to the same antics that makes some people hate Rock & Roll and others, like us, love the genre.
Marrow – BD Riley’s and Cheers Shot Bar
Marrow is quickly becoming a POD-favorite thanks to their dynamic sound and the effect their double/interchanging lead singer band setup has on their music. While in Austin, we couldn’t pass up the chance to see this Chicago band do their thing and win over some new fans at both of their SXSW shows. The intimate setting of BD Riley’s was a perfect way to showcase this 4-piece’s talent and while the rooftop performance at Cheers Shot Bar was subjected to the noise of all that was going on along 6th St, Marrow’s music proved to work perfectly for the busyness that goes with festival shows. At the rate these guys are going, expect them to be on the bill of summer fests in the near future.
Alex Wiley – Bat Bar, Parish, Venue 512
Is it biased to say Alex Wiley killed it down at SXSW because we’re fans and that he’s from Chicago like us? Yes it would be, but that’s not how we like to do things around here. We’d be selling him short if those were the only reasons to show this guy praise because Wiley brought an energy to every performance of his that we witnessed down in Austin that made you feel like this guy was rapping in front of thousands, not hundreds. Switching between a backing track from a DJ and a live band gave his sets a breadth that few rappers can obtain with the classic “two turntables and a microphone” setup and Wiley gave it everything he had every time he brought the mic up to his mouth.
Earl Sweatshirt – Red Bull Sound Select at The Belmont
We are almost always in attendance at any Red Bull event that comes through Chicago, so it was only right we check out one of their 4 Sound Select shows while in Austin. We chose to check out the show on our first night in town with headlining act Earl Sweatshirt. We are supporters of Earl and the Odd Future collective, but I must admit I only gave his debut album one listen front to back. It was a good album, but never got back to checking it out again. His performance last Wednesday was really impressive and had me wishing I knew more lyrics. Earl’s had complete control of the crowd with Tyler looking on from the side of stage. Don’t believe us? Check out the footage for yourself up above.