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Friday, June 14, 2024
Jesse Boykins III

Jesse Boykins III at SXSW

SXSW update: cool cats from Thursday's showcases

Well, my first night in Austin was wild to say the least—both because the environment here makes electricity seem weak and because I saw some incredible music. Okay, I won’t waste any more of your time with a cheap introduction; here are a couple of the best acts I saw yesterday:


Okay, so one of the great things about SXSW is the fact that you haven’t heard most of the artists (if you have, I salute you for having way too much time). 3421 was one of those acts for me. I think they were a new experience almost everyone else in the audience as well. When I arrived there was only one guy jiving right up in front of the stage, but by the end of 3421’s set, the venue was nearly packed and the audience was chanting “one more song.”

So what’s 3421’s deal? They’re a two piece—drums and a splay of keyboards—hailing from Haifa, Israel. They describe themselves as “live dubstep.” I guess that works as a definer. They certainly like to riff on two-step themes, but it’s not at all hyperbolized like so much standard dub music. And because they don’t over-play, they focus on making their music intricate where others might just go for a bass drop. Their melodies are simple, but well thought out. There was never a point when I felt their sound got repetitive. I respect any group that can tastefully use a vocoder, and 3421 does it. If you get a chance to see 3421 live, I’d recommend doing so.

Jesse Boykins III

Jesse Boykins III mixes a cool sense of R&B with new-age beats. He went on stage right before DJ mastermind Bonobo and I have to say, I was more impressed with Jesse Boykins III. His stage presence is unrivaled. I mean that. He’s one of those people who you can tell wants to be onstage. He should be onstage, all the time.

His lyrics touched on a variety of topics, but they all came back to one basic theme: to be happy, to love yourself and to love in general. And let me tell you, while listening to Jesse Boykins III’s silky voice, it’s hard not to love life. Check out this New Yorker’s music.


More updates on the way, straight from Austin, Tex.

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