Yesterday marked the first day of the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Together with the interactive conference and film festival, SXSW’s music showcases and speaker events complete the trifecta of South by Southwest, a premiere destination for discovery in tech, music, and film.
During the day, the interactive trade show was held in the Austin Convention Center, with hundreds of start-ups showcasing products and services to other professionals in hopes of sales or deals with other companies. A 3D-printed pizza in the shape of the United States was showcased alongside virtual reality applications, standing desks, a DJing app, and more.
As attendees wandered from exhibit to exhibit, Violet Skies, a singer-songwriter from Wales, set up a small performance space near the front of the exhibit hall. She performed a short set as people crowded around to hear her soulful vocals on tracks such as “How the Mighty” and “Liar”. She seemed shy when she spoke between songs, remarking on how there were “so many cameras” and “more people than I expected”, but that disappeared while she was performing.
In the evening, RecPhilly put on a showcase they titled “Amplify Philly”, featuring rock and hip-hop artists from Philadelphia. Philly native DJ Aktive, who is currently on tour with Janet Jackson, played short sets between each act. The showcase kicked off at 8PM with Vita and the Woolf (named for British authors Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf) playing their first set of an eventual six this year at SXSW. The electronic soul-pop duo played to a small crowd, as guests were still filing in from long lines outside.
They were followed by Kid Felix, who claim to be “Philly’s finest rock band” and played a high-energy punk-rock set.
Next up was Joie Kathos, a hip-hop artist and “The Glee Project” finalist who rapped and danced alongside two back-up dancers. She finished up her set with “Gone”, a track off her EP Floaters about her eye condition that may eventually lead to blindness.
Chill Moody, Dilemma, Ground Up, and PnB Rock (and six of his friends who crowded onstage filming exclusive shots for their Snapchat stories) also performed.
When headliner Lil Dicky took the stage, the audience surged towards the stage as security held barriers in place and photographers flooded the photo pit. After announcing it was his birthday, the crowd sang a particularly enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday” and someone from backstage brought out a cake, which Burd (Lil Dicky) proceeded to hurl into the audience.
Although one girl was spattered with yellow frosting and chocolate cake, Burd later made it up to her (maybe?) when he called her onstage for “Lemme Freak” and gave her a lap dance.
Burd gradually stripped down throughout the performance until he was wearing only green underwear and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt. Individualism makes his act, and as a Jewish parody rapper, unique is the name of his game. Some highlights included “Pillow Talk” and the call and response Burd started (“when I say pro, you say choice!”). Hopefully he remembers he’s in Texas.