Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Austin, TX (the self-proclaimed weirdest city in America) for South by Southwest (SXSW). Serving as one of the largest film and music festivals worldwide, SXSW gives a global platform to some relatively unknown artists. Here are some of my favorite hits from the weekend.
1.Maggie Rogers, “Alaska”
I saw this electrifying 22-year-old perform in a church, which is so very South By. Every concert is held in a small intimate venue. Her vibe: a mix of European Dance Music and Appalachian Folk. BTW, she sang this song with just a guitar and her voice: no mic.
2. Noname, “Freedom (Interlude)”
Noname might be my personal favorite new artist. She crafts a mix of soul, hip–hop, and spoken word into an album, titled Yesterday, that speaks levels. She performed this song to a lawn full of blanket–sitting bohemians, absorbed by her every word.
3. Christopher Paul Stelling, “Castle”
The second I walked into a coffee shop off of 6th and Congress, my ears were glued to the sound of a bass, a banjo, and an addicting folk-tinted voice.
4. Hanson, “MMMBop”
This one is purely for fun. The second Hanson, now in their 30s and 40s, played MMMBop, I was transported back to light up sneakers, lots of denim, and car rides with my mom. Talk about a throw back.
5. Jidenna, “Bambi”
This dude is pure entertainment. Beyond his smooth, Nigerian-influenced dance moves, he has STYLE. He comes to the stage decked out in a three-piece suit, and then proceeds to involve the whole crowd in a movement of music influenced by his Nigerian heritage.
6. Hippo Campus, “Way it Goes”
Hippo Campus has a familiar alt-rock sound, like something you might hear in a Pac Sun or Urban Outfitters. But they have a cool style, and I saw them in the parking lot of a dope record store.
7. D.R.A.M, Lil’ Yachty, “Broccoli”
This song was the crowd favorite of the MTV Woodie Awards, and was defined by a massive throwing of green glowsticks. Because nothing says vegetables like glowsticks.
8. Maggie Rogers, “Dog Years”
Honestly she is too good to only have one song on this list. PLUS she has only released an EP. So go listen to it.
9. Cameron Avery, “Wasted on Fidelity”
This smooth, alt-rock tune fills the room with the richness of a voice that matches the tone of Hozier. His voice was so rich I felt it was somewhat necessary for the air to be filled with smoke.
10. Jared and the Mill, “Messengers”
I’ll be honest, these guys weren’t my favorite people to see live. Nonetheless, “Messengers” is a Southwestern folk-inspired tune with a beautiful harmony. Check it out.
While I saw some amazing music at South By, I didn’t even make a dent in the amount of artists who were there. Check out Spotify’s playlists composed of all the weirdos from SXSW 2017.
Image Credits: Photo: Daniel Varghese