By Joe Layton
You know what SXSW is. It’s one of those things you have to dive into all the way or avoid completely. If you commit half way, it overwhelms. So if you chose the beach or another college spring break adventure this March, here’s a few things you missed in Austin when the hairy beast ripped through.
Joey Bada$$, or Joey Bad for short, is one of the most hyped young rappers out of NYC. At only 18, there is much speculation from the hip hop community that he’s bringing old school hip hop back with his intelligent, relaxed flows, and collaborations with producers such as DJ premier who focus on organic, jazz tinged beats.
Honestly, the dude doesn’t seem to care and storms the stage with his Pro Era crew with the energy and presence of a
true rapper. He has dropped two mix tapes that have received acclaim from figures in hip hop including Kendrick Lamar, who is featured on “1Train” rapping alongside Joey and several other emerging artists.
Joey reveals that Jay-Z was interested in signing him rapping “just got back to the block from a 6 o’clock with Jigga/I’m thinking about signing to the Roc but my ni**as on the block still assigned to the rocks.” At The ND and The Hangar Lounge Joey and the Pro Era crew put up two fingers in the air for Capital Steez, whose lyrics were on par with Joey’s. Steez committed a mysterious suicide this winter writing on his twitter “The end.” When Joey and the crew performed “Survival Tactics,” a song that featured Steez, at The ND you could feel the energy and respect flowing through the crowd who kept their fingers up. Steez was responsible for well crafted social commentary including “I’m in Marty McFly mode/so tell ‘em that the futures back.
Hiatus Kaiyote is a four-piece group out of Australia. Fusing soul, jazz, and keeping a rock sensibility, Hiatus Kaiyote keeps you dancing and entranced.
Nai Palm, the female lead vocalist and guitarist, came out on the Maggie Mae’s rooftop stage at 9 p.m. Saturday wearing some kind of animal headdress and tights with skulls on them. The band broke into syncopated, stuttered beats that somehow come together tighter than the majority of contemporary groups. Palm’s vocals meander smoothly, revealing an unmistakable jazz influence, and preciseness.
The whole group’s stage presence, spearheaded by Palm, is remarkable. They just have a good time, the way music should be. What really sets the group apart is the musicianship and unique compositions. Moving through odd time signatures, and beautifully crafted grooves, the band is somewhat progressive, with many distinctly different movements within a song. Check “Nakkamarra” to glimpse the style.
Flying Lotus’ production stands alone in the electronic world, but his live show proves that he has a strong passion for a distinct live performance as well. He has see through projection screens in front and back of him while he performs. Sometimes the screens match, but often there are two completely different worlds surrounding Lotus. All of the images are original compositions as well. Universes, geometric shapes, neon caricatures, and his music videos make up the scenescape.
Lotus reserves some songs only for live shows, never released and only presented in concert, which makes the show surprising and unpredictable. About a third of the way through the set, Tuesday night at the Arthouse he took a break
and admitted to the crowd “That was a little frantic” before jumping right back into the set, mellowing the room. Lotus gave props to his hometown of LA, dropping Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” in its entirety right in the middle of his set. This got the Arthouse hyped, as Lotus rarely plays anything that is not his own original production. Lotus dropped “Massage Situation ” from his Reset EP and the crowd slunk into a slippery wobble.
It’s somewhat doubtful that any of these acts will be in Austin again soon with the exception of a possible Flying Lotus appearance at the Brainfeeder 4/20 showcase, but stay tuned to Audio Hype for advances of the next can’t-miss shows.