photos by Yusuf “Yuie” Muhammad
SXSW ended Saturday night with a very special edition of Okayplayer’s 15th birthday celebration featuring Erykah Badu AKA DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown playing a set with Thundercat, plus performances from Daley, SZA, Petite Noir, THEESatisfaction and so much more. The night was, as they say in Jamaica, pure roadblock, rampacked from 8pm sharp until 2:08am when the cops pulled the power on the whole joint and we were told to get the fvck out.
Speaking of JA, reggae-got-soul poster boy Liam Bailey formally kicked off a night of double digit performances before Georgia’s Deep Cotton set the house off with a rock and roll wake-up call c/o of their southern rock x Prince-dosed covers of Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Gonna Come” and the Rolling Stones‘ “Satisfaction,” creating the proper vibe for surprise guitar-guest Gary Clark, Jr. to murder it when Cody ChesnuTT called him up on stage for double guitar slaying insanity. Next up, SZA showed why she is the year’s most-anticipated After Daley showed off his superhuman pipes (and the police stopped by to yell at the night’s DJs Christian Tiger School for “playing their music too loud”) Scotland’s Young Fathers transported us to some otherwordly place with their spooky set. Even though they only had time to play three songs, the Edinburgh trio (backed by a full string section–a special addition for the night!) brought the crowd to sweat and tears. At some point someone pulled the generator (sabotage!) but the crowd stayed loyal even in the dark.
On the brink of getting shut down for being louder (more awesome) than Rainey Street could handle, it was time for Petite Noir and his bandmates to introduce Austin to the dark and heavenly-sounding art of noir-wave. Crowd-pleaser Roman GianArthur basically rewrote the definition of smooth with his superstar aura and ultra-soulful renditions of his funky love anthem “I-69” and a cover of Radiohead‘s “High and Dry” (more on Roman’s Radiohead fetish soon!) The guy certainly has moves (the kind that leave a crowd speechless). In a surprise turn of events, THEESatisfaction‘s set turned out to be a spontaneous, real life Player Xchange when Christian Tiger School filled in as last minute DJs.
Stas & Cat of THEESat (who thanked us for bringing “black” to SXSW), set the vintage tone for the cherry on top of SXSW. Their final song “QueenS” brilliantly served as a walk-up song for our very own neo-soul royalty to take the stage. DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown AKA Erykah Badu‘s high energy DJ set with Thundercat augmenting the energy on bass had the crowd going wild with mere minutes to spare as she sang along and made funny commentary from behind the deck. Considering the plug was pulled at 2:08 (8 minutes after our 2am curfew), Erykah proclaiming, “Okayplayer is like the Weather Man–if they say it’s gonna rain, bring an umbrella!” may just have been the official last words of 2014 SXSW…and that, children, is the story of the night the lights went out in Texas.