We’re just over halfway through the music portion of live-music heaven that is SXSW, and the talent here has been so consistent, none of the Daily Cardinal arts desk has slept in days. This is an exaggeration, but not as far off as you might think.
When you’re seeing artist after artist for days in a row, it can be hard to even keep track of what’s what, and the best artists know that. With incredibly short sets, even for relatively big-name artists like Noname and A$AP Ferg, it’s about making as much impact in as short amount of time as possible.
This doesn’t have to mean including an entire row of backup dancers in metallic pants and complex chair choreography, but it definitely could. Tinashe proved her pop star prowess with the flashiest set I’ve seen this week, but her vocals were still wild through all the hair flips and impressively low drops. At the risk of sounding corny, Tinashe is truly made up of the kind of whole-package pop star fabric that makes me think she’ll be topping charts in the near future.
For others, making an impact has been a little bit simpler. After catching Noname twice in the last couple days, I’m convinced she’s the whole package in a different way—she calmly radiates it from her pores, her eyes, her smile, her beautifully crafted rhymes and easy melodies.
Anna Wise was by far the most captivating performer I’ve seen in so long. Having just heard a single song of hers before going into the performance, she had me and the entire audience wilding out, incapable of taking our eyes off her for a whole set. I’m not sure I’ve seen that vocal range from any live performer ever.
Indie rocker Jay Som, fresh off her new album Everybody Works, was all-around intoxicating live. After listening to that album for a straight week walking to class, on the 80 and before bed, I wasn’t sure how it would translate live, but Jay Som served even more feels in person.
This is truly just to name a few of the performers I’ve seen this week but, from the back to back shows, I think I’ve nailed down the golden rule of live music: anyone who makes you believe it by what ever means they can is worth both showing up and opening up for.