Saturday at SXSW is a bit of a different animal than the week’s start: While Tuesday through Friday can often feel like a combination of Mardi Gras and Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, as the week winds down and the bands scatter, so does the festival’s nonstop energy. That being said, there still is plenty to see and do if you know where to look, whether it’s sweating it out to Priests at the Fader Fort or, well, also sweating it out to Merchandise outside at Cheer Up Charlie’s (can you tell that it was hot today?). Below, Paste relives Day 5 at South By Southwest.
“This is our eighth show in the last four days,” R&B/soul singer Gabriel Garzón-Montano said to the Stones Throw Records showcase crowd. And while such a feat would generally raise eyebrows, this is SXSW, and Garzón-Montano is one of many artists this week who push the limits of the norm to share their music with as many people as possible. Despite multiple sound issues, the New York-based Stones Throw signee coarsed through much of his brilliant 2017 release Jardín beautifully. Garzón-Montano looked visibly perturbed by the venue’s technical issues, but it was the sign of a perfectionist at the tail end of a gnarly run of shows. From anywhere beyond the photo pit, you couldn’t tell that anything was wrong with the sound, as tracks like “Crawl” and “My Balloon” were highlights of his set. His career is a promising one, that has already garnered co-signs from the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Drake, and this was merely the beginning of what will surely be a fruitful year for Garzón-Montano. —Adrian Spinelli
“Clouds, please stay there, please,” begged Carson Cox of Florida post-punk outfit Merchandise as he and the rest of the band performed outside, probably echoing the wish of every audience member who’d sardined themselves in the outdoor space at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Naturally, the clouds did no such thing, as they eventually opened up to bake the Merchandise members once more. “God damn you, sun!” Cox responded good-naturedly, as he ran through reverb-heavy tracks like the yearning “Right Back to the Start” from the band’s 2016 release, A Corpse Wired for Sound. Despite the oppressive heat and the fact that this writer didn’t bring sandals to Austin, Merchandise’s cucumber-cool set was well worth the heat. —Rachel Brodsky
The sun started beating down in earnest as D.C. punk champions Priests took the stage at the Fader Fort. Lead singer Katie Alice Greer might’ve been sweating her makeup off (or so she told the crowd, commenting on the amount of lipstick that she’d unwittingly transferred from mouth to mic), but the warmth hardly prevented her from growling the words to tracks from the band’s excellent debut, Nothing Feels Natural. —Rachel Brodsky
Few labels in the business will put out a 29-track album of drum breaks and soul samples like Karriem Riggins’ Headnod Suite, but Stones Throw Records will do it and push it like any other release. Riggins is one of hip-hop’s greatest drummers (think Questlove without a band) and his set was littered with callbacks to classics. He prepped the crowd for his musings with short abstracts like “Shout out to the ‘80s”, or “R.I.P. J-Dilla” and “R.I.P. Clyde Stubblefield…James Brown’s Funky Drummer.” And Riggins’ output mirrored what the title of his album seeks to achieve: Heads were nodding, bodies were moving and Riggins provided a fine final piece of the evening’s puzzle ahead of label-head Peanut Butter Wolf’s closing set. —Adrian Spinelli