Austin – Wednesday was—fingers crossed—the most frustrating day schedule-wise at SXSW. Attendees were forced to make painful choices between Elliphant and Shamir, and those of us that chose Elliphant ran into a line that wouldn’t budge. But the line was moving smoothly for the Ray Ban showcase at Boiler Room, and it wound up being arguably the night’s best set. On paper it was already a phenomenal set, but appearances from Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood made an otherwise fruitless day of standing in lines more than worth it.
There was a weirdly large contingent of British fans at Blossoms’ Latitude 30 set last night. Weird, because you would imagine they don’t need to fly 5,000 miles to see the Manchester quintet. One fan managed to explain it in a way that made sense—the BBC-curated showcase is where you go to find the island’s best up-and-coming musicians. Blossoms are called a psych-rock revival band, but they don’t love that label. Their sound has an extra dash of punk and—according to bass player Charlie Salt when we sat down for an interview—the bass licks that made New Order so distinctive. Look for our full write-up next week.
Standout track: “Blow”
Rae Sremmurd’s set was squeezed down to just a few minutes after Ghostface played “one more song” about six or seven times, but they made the most of it. Even if you don’t know the Mississippi brothers, you’ve probably heard “No Type” and “Throw Sum Mo” ft. Nicki Minaj. (Ed., Earlier this year, Best New Bands called their album, SremmLife, a “fun, solid debut.”) Those two songs are a pretty good sample of what they do best—enthusiastic scream-rapping over beats that have been stripped down to only their best hooks.
Standout track: “No Type”
This was the guy everyone thought they came to see at Ray Ban’s Boiler Room set. And, I mean, it’s not like he was a letdown after Ghostface. He brought a very different pace, though. Standout track “Leave Me Alone,” for example, couldn’t be less like a Wu Tang song. Its lush arrangements and breathy vocals are closer in spirit to EDM than the hard edged, stripped down sound of Wu Tang’s samples. Not that Kaytranada can’t produce a good hiphop beat, either. Just see his latest single “Drive Me Crazy.”
Standout track: “Leave Me Alone”
Best Old Band: Ghostface Killah with BadBadNotGood
Let’s face it, Ghostface could read the phone book and people would freak out like it was The Beatles playing Ed Sullivan. The quiet heroes of this set were BadBadNotGood, who sounded excellent backing up Ghostface on a slew of Wu Tang classics. And not just Wu Tang songs: the set included a tribute performance of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya. The collaboration isn’t a total surprise: BBNG and Ghostface collaborated on Sour Soul, released earlier this year.