SXSW - Day 3 Recap - Aldous Harding, Tunde Olaniran, Sam Gellaitry, + More!
Wow. This band is so good that we had to see them again. PWR BTTM’s core members, Liv Bruce + Ben Hopkins, brought their four piece to the French Legation museum for the Pitchfork’s curated Day Party. They played an intimate set on an small stage to a devoted crowd. They played through some unreleased songs off of their newest album Pageant, and talked directly to the audience, coming down after their set to sign autographs and take photos with fans. Truly a wonderful group of individuals.
One can’t help but smile when amidst Kweku’s homeskill attitude and rolling-wave lines. Politically active in the most unobtrusive sense, Kweku innately hosts a positive presence that makes for a totally inclusive, mi-casa-su-casa fun-inducing atmosphere. Not to mention those beats! With a fantastic interplay between ooo-spurring subwoofed basslines and jazzily percussive vocals, Kweku’s Chicago-based rapping brings the perfect energy-sound mix for a Pitchfork day party.
Vagabon played a charged set, switching setups a few times between a 3 piece band and a solo guitar/404 sampler combo. She’s not very tall, but her voice carries beautifully. It resonated especially well in the calm of the Legation Museum’s front park. A gifted songwriter who is one to watch for sure.
An artist of a lifetime. While on stage, Aldous is the primary influencer of each individual listener’s emotional state, harnessing a direct connection between internal feelings and the strings of poetry that weave the stories in her transporting performance. An absolute wonder to see live, from a pathos-oriented as well as an artistically admirable, infinitely intriguing standpoint.
A GIANT DOG
We saw A Giant Dog a second time post-interview, and came at it with a renewed and refocused perspective. Rekindlers of classic rock, smashing energized performers, artists; people. We rocked along with the band, sharing in the spirit of home akin to visiting a raging house party at a family friend’s.
What freaking talented musicians! A jack of all trades master of all, Sykes comes at the unsuspecting State-side indie scene at full throttle, loaded with masterfully tight compositions, shoulder-boppin’ synth-bass-drums, and a soaring crystal-clear soprano voice. A live performance that’s suitable for a bougie hotel backyard or a basement house show, Sykes’ blend of poppy tunes and impeccable talent is sure to allure.
Tunde Olaniran’s setup was minimal, but his performance was anything but. A single microphone stand positioned center stage and two banners with the message, “No Abelism, No Shaming, No Fatphobia, No Femmephobia, No Transphobia, No Racism, No Sexism; Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Vulnerable” was all the clues that the crowd at Sidewinder backyard had to what the performance might hold.
Olaniran is a resident of Flint, Michigan, and opened the performance with a audio montage of news reports on the current situations with Flint’s water. Two dancers joined him on stage, performing choreographed and improvised dance additions to his music.
The performance ended the way any good show should, with a group twerk on stage to which Olaniran invited anyone who wanted to to join him. A skilled producer, rapper, singer, and performer, Tunde Olaniran was undeniably the most riveting and engaging performance we’ve seen at the festival so far.
We had originally planned to see Ari Lennox, a DMV based rapper associated with Dreamville, J. Cole’s former label, but as SXSW goes, things were running significantly behind, and we were instead treated to a performance by J.I.D, an Atlanta based rapper also associated with the collective. With a bandana tied around his head, he prefaced his performance with, “I’m not like those other guys. This sh*t is real.” His performance belied a sense of depth that can seem rare among gangsta rap circles. His performance was visceral; he even took to climbing up the rafters for one song. He was joined for his final song by label mates EarthGang, whose passion drove J.I.D.’s performance another step up. But even with the addition of two more voices, no one could possibly overshadow J.I.D.’s intelligent, explosive performance.
Sam Gellaitry is a young DJ and producer hailing from Scotland. The 18 year old crafts electronic music that at first glance might be categorized only as EDM or dubstep, to some. The producer’s skills, however, are far greater than any one label you might find tacked onto him. His live set, like his recordings, dances through dubstep, trap, house, and more effortlessly, holding audiences to his pulse and dazzling with impeccably designed synths and had hitting percussion. A reserved face hides a crafty mind, hard at work curating the perfect sounds. We CANNOT recommend him enough for any fans of electronic music.
Stay tuned for more of our coverage of SXSW!
Luke Martinez and Ilana Harris are content producers, techno enthusiasts, and DJs on the Record Hospital