MTV Woodies Lights Up SXSW With Upcoming Musicians

Jidenna performing at the 2016 MTV Woodies Festival on March 16th, 2016 (MTV).

A$AP Rocky’s black-and-white introduction to the MTV Live Stream of The Woodies music festival discussed the inspiration and unique qualities desired in the industry. He is hosting the live stream and explains that defining yourself, as an artist, is what is important no matter what others define you as.

A$AP Rocky also stepped onto the stage to introduce the viewers and concertgoers to the first act of the night. “We are celebrating artists that you discovered pushing boundaries and making the music you love,” A$AP Rocky said. The festival took place in Austin, TX and began with A$AP Ferg.

The lightening turned to red as he sprung onto the stage on a tall stage that projected pouring rain on its surfaces. A$AP Ferg brought up the energy in the crowd, as it begun with a rap act. He eventually left the tall stage and rapped from the normal main stage, grey hoodie hanging on his head. His song had a repetitive chorus easy to pick up, “I’m on a new level.” This phrase was literally represented with his change in level between the two platforms, causing a neat performance effect. 

After the first performance, MTV showed a mix of clips of rising artists who discussed their music and what inspires them. Jack Antonoff explained that one of his inspirations is Fleetwood Mac. The entire show was about discovering new artists and celebrating their differences, so the montage fit well with the vibe.

Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals were the next performance. They led with a very Michael-Jackson vibe with super lighthearted beats and funky rap. There was a slight similarity to Bruno Mars’s style that leans towards the 80’s, as well, which created a generally fun vibe. Anderson Paak’s outfit fit his musical style; his jacket was extremely colorful and pattern-filled. The performance also directly referenced the passing of David Bowie with a melodical rendition of “Let’s Dance,” that had the crowd smiling.

A$AP Rocky introduced Erin Paul as one of the “dopest actors on TV.” Erin Paul then introduced the next act, Jack Garratt. He was the first artist that was not in the hip-hop/rap genre. His song was slow and intense with blue lighting to compliment the tone. Garratt’s genre could be considered a version of rock; the grit in his voice filled the stadium with loud clarity, and Garratt played multiple instruments while presumably using a loop pedal. Anderson Paak featured in Garratt’s song, adding a smooth rap tone to the intense performance. Garratt’s guitar skills stole the show, as he closed the performance with a phenomenal solo.

MTV then showed clips from earlier in the day at the festival from artists like Kehlani and Lukas Graham. It allowed the viewers at home to see a further range of the talent than what is simply shown on the hour live stream. Jidenna also performed “Classic Man” earlier in the day, and the viewers were able to hear the radio hit through the clips shown from the daytime part of the festival. 

Kehlani took the stage next for her night performance, adorning a black mini dress and joined by two backup dancers. Her artistic style leaned towards sensual, R&B that created hot dance music that contrasted from all the previous performances.

CHVRCHES was the next performance. This festival came around six months after their stellar performance at Boston Calling Music Festival in fall 2015. Her airy voice creates a unique tone for the band, which makes them easy to pick from the crowd, literally and metaphorically. Electronic beats are similar to The Chainsmokers in their artistic tone and performance. 

Pusha T introduced the main act of the night, The Chainsmokers, who performed their hit “Rozes.” Fog machines exploded during the bass drop in the song, and the entire crowd evidently looked forward most to this performance. As the performance ended, confetti flew through the crowd. It was an epic ending to the festival, particularly with Lamar introducing the main act.

Catch up on all the performances here.