This year for SXSW I headed out to the mtvU Woodie Awards and Festival. It was one of the highlights of my week. MTV brought together some of the newest and hottest artists for an all day festival and awards show, filmed to be aired later on the channel. Read about some of the performances below and look at even more photos here.
The all day anticipation was matched by the mastermind himself when Childish Gambino made his way from back stage, through the venue, all the way into the crowd and onto the stage, all the while rapping with marching band posse dressed in lights. Donald Glover delivered a satisfying set, throwing down on every song as the fans went wild, singing every word back to him, no matter how fast the rapping was.
Iggy Azalea owned the stage with style, sass and vocals, not to mention the dance moves. The crowd was so insane that I though the barrier might break because security actually had to hold it back at times. The hype was only validated when Charli XCX joined Iggy to perform their new single “Fancy,” which was accompanied by blow-up balls and confetti for a climactic energy high.
The 1975 made a debut performance in America last year at SXSW. Since then they have exploded into the limelight of the music scene, so it only makes sense they would return to SX for the second time around. After sound checking, they were waiting on stage for their turn to perform, Matty even taking a break to smoke a cigarette. Much to their surprise and excitement, as well as the crowd’s, Lil Wayne made an appearance on the main stage to commence the show as well as introduce the band. As the first performance of the awards portion of the event, they rocked the stage out right, playing a sweet five song set.
American Authors was only in town for a day or two, but they played more shows than thought possible in the little amount of time (but that’s the spirit of SX). They even went straight from the Woodies to another gig across the street. This band was one of my favorite performances of the night. The stage was a huge catwalk that lead singer Zac owned. It felt like the energy of the crowd increased with excitement after every song they played, and this was something that the band fed off of even more.
After his hit song “Latch” with Disclosure, UK artist Sam Smith is making a name for himself in the US. His soulful vocals were surprising and impressive, turning me into a fan instantly.
Bleachers is Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff’s side project. So new in fact, that the mtvU Woodies was their second performance ever as a band. This is only the first you’ll see of them since they’re playing Governor’s Ball, Firefly and Lollapalooza.