Those who didn't get into the monstrous Jay-Z/Kanye West reunion Wednesday night were most likely at the NPR Showcase. At Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, arguably the headquarters for live Austin music, a strong lineup of bands of every persuasion came together to put on an entertaining night of music.
To open the night, Syracuse noise-rockers Perfect Pussy brought their unmatchable intensity to the stage. Though the lyrics were mostly indiscernible over the sound of the band, the visible emotion on singer Meredith Graves’ face left no doubt in the audience’s mind about the sincerity of their songs.
Following Perfect Pussy was UK post-punk five-piece Eagulls. Embracing the “wall-of-sound” technique that many rock acts use, the fullness of Eagulls’ sound was never in question. Although, after three songs, the formula that they use to write their songs was very evident. A driving beat would start, and both guitarists would play nearly the exact same thing, creating plenty of sound, but cutting off opportunities for the band to create a more complex sound.
Kelis, the nationally-renown R&B/hip-hop singer famous for her provocative single “Milkshake,” brought her full band to the stage. Horns, back-up vocalists and keyboards created grooves and beats that had the entire crowd dancing along to the undeniably infectious music. She covered “Feeling Good,” returned to it several times throughout the set, and of course, brought all the boys to the yard with “Milkshake.”
The last act I stayed for Wednesday was the artistic yet precise St. Vincent. As the only show she would play for the entire festival, the crowd was fittingly electric with anticipation. Her purposefully robotic choreography paired with her impeccable guitar playing abilities showcased her undeniable talent. Full of energy and confidence, the beautiful set was a fitting way to end my SXSW Wednesday.