This year, MTV took the “awards” out of the Woodie Awards. Rather than crowning winners, MTV hosted a five-hour music festival simply called the MTV Woodies that showcased an impressive list of up-and-coming artists.
A$AP Rocky hosted the event, which was held in the Austin American-Statesman parking lot Wednesday night. As the sun beat down on thousands of attendees exhausted from waiting in line for hours, the first act, R&B singer Kehlani, took to the stage and performed four songs, including her hit, “The Way.”
The next act, rapper/singer Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, jumped from behind his drum kit to dance center stage during his brief 20-minute set.
By the time Danish pop/soul band Lukas Graham took the stage, the crowd was warmed up. Frontman Lukas Graham opened up to the audience, revealing his rocky past growing up in poverty, getting teased for his secondhand clothing at school and eating meatloaf five days a week.
The group took the energy down a notch for “Seven Years,” the single that Graham said granted them the fame necessary to secure a spot at an event like The Woodies. The emotional song about growing up picked up speed, culminating in an anthem that had the whole crowd singing along.
BØRNS took the stage next, opening with his first single, “10,000 Emerald Pools,” and ending with crowd favorite “Electric Love.”
Nigerian-American rapper Jidenna captivated the crowd after BØRNS set, showing off his smooth dance moves and impeccable style while donning a full-piece turquoise suit. The whole band dressed for the occasion, mimicking the sentiment behind the rapper’s most popular song, “Classic Man.”
Synthpop band CHVRCHES followed with a three-song set interspersed with commentary from frontwoman Lauren Eve Mayberry. One-man band Jack Garratt went next, combining electric guitar, keyboards, drums keyboards and his smooth falsetto vocals in songs such as “Worry” and “The Love You’re Given.”
A$AP Ferg performed a brief set before the live stream of the Woodies kicked off. The cameras rolled and A$AP Rocky reappeared on stage, acting as MC between performances. Aaron Paul and Alia Shawkat also made brief appearances, reintroducing some of the acts who returned to play a single song for the viewers at home.
The live stream ended with confetti and “Roses” by The Chainsmokers and female vocalist Rozes. After the camera stopped rolling, the Chainsmokers stayed on stage to finish their set, igniting the audience with hits such as “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Until You Were Gone.”