This March, the South By Southwest festival returned and once again delivered a collection of new music acts and performances from some of the world’s best headliners. The annual music conference and festival, which takes place in downtown Austin every year, saw acts perform from every corner of the globe. Here are some of the best moments we felt stood out from the crowd.
1. JAY Z and KANYE WEST
The two rap superstars teamed up again to deliver a hit-filled, two-hour show. Their powerful performance, hosted by Samsung, was scheduled at the same time as the iTunes Festival’s hip-hop night that featured Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q at the very nearby ACL Moody Theatre. The pair emerged individually on two large boxes stationed on the stage and in the crowd. West was of course wearing his trademark leather kilt. They played major hits from their equally lengthy catalogues – from "Black Skinhead" to "Empire State of Mind".
We were delighted to see that Jillian Banks, simply known as "Banks", was one of the most buzzed about music acts at the legendary Austin-based global music festival this season. This was especially notable as it was her first festival set ever! While "Brain" was one of her more popular songs of the set, we were proud to also feature another great song from this artist during our first ever London Fashion Week show. While SXSW loved "Brain", we loved "Before I Ever Met You".
Did you know Kelis trained part-time as a saucier, eventually graduating form Le Cordon Bleu culinary school? Well, if not, now you know and now you'll understand why her latest album is called "Food". She took a hands on approach this SXSW festival season and took to the kitchen to prepare batches of food which was then driven around Austin by Kelis herself and given to hungry passers by. Kelis then took to the iconic outdoor stage at Stubbs in a sparkling outfit. Like her food, her music is now much more of a soulful affair in comparison to the music she produced with Calvin Harris. Remember "Bounce"? She wowed the crowd with her energetic performance, even after spending the day chopping onions in a cramped kitchen!
4. BENJAMIN BOOKER
For a two-piece band, you should think Benjamin's voice should be the third member. From soul to sandpaper rough, this newly signed singer sounds like he's from another era, that he's soaked his vocal chords in bourbon for years. For a 21 year old, he's impressive. And so too is his band member Max Horton who hails from New Orleans. The bluesy two piece can create a furious racket when they put their instruments to it. Still a raw talent, this band is one to watch.
5. FUTURE ISLANDS
If there's one band which has been meme-ing its way onto the popular music scene, it's Future Islands. Their astounding performance recently on the Late Show with David Letterman, which showcased the lead singer's interesting dance moves and "normcore" style, were sure to make Future Islands one of the best live acts to see at SXSW. The Guardian called their performance "mesmerizing". With their European Tour almost fully sold out, this is going to be one successful "new" band, even if just for the astounding Tumblr GIFs of "The Herring" dance move. A sure winner from the SXSW music festival. Add to your summer playlist now!
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