SXSW Live Shot: Okayplayer
Questlove and Wu-Tang forever
By Thomas Fawcett,
1:15PM, Sun. Mar. 22, 2015
Founded by Questlove, Okayplayer has long served as a curator of cool and champion of left-of-center underground talent. Saturday night’s Rainey Street showcase at Bungalow proved the website and online community still has a finger on the pulse.
Highlights came from a pair of female duos. Seattle Afro-futurist hip-hop combo Theesatisfaction planted organic astro tunes from new LP Earthee. Environmental manifesto “Planet for Sale” ticked off the list of things to be sold – your future, mind, planet, and soul – while the hook on “Queens” let it be known: “Whatever you do, don’t fuck with my crew.”
French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi suffered through a lengthy soundcheck with a myriad of technical difficulties before scrapping plan A and opting for an all-acoustic set. The duo completely reframed what could have been a frustrating experience as an opportunity to do something special and intimate. After a Yoruban chant – “ibeyi” means twins in the West African language – the daughters of renowned Cuban conga player Anga Diaz opened with “Ghosts” from their self-titled debut LP.
Full of swirling, ethereal harmonies and culminating with an invocation of deity Oshun, “River” baptized the crowd a capella. Sound issues be damned. Ibeyi was mesmerizing.
The show flyer had Badbadnotgood billed to play “with surprise special guests.” The baby-faced Canadian jazz trio (bass, drums, keys) laced the instrumentals on Ghostface Killah’s latest LP Sour Soul, making Tony Starks the odds-on favorite for a guest spot. Bringing on a buddy to play an extended tenor sax solo on Flying Lotus cut “Pony Boy Strut” seemed like expert trolling until bigger names arrived.
Detroit’s Black Milk paid homage to J Dilla on Slum Village cover “Fall in Love,” while Philly’s Freeway bumped “What We Do,” and Just Blaze joined in on the wheels of steel.
For his part, Ghostface swarmed the Belmont stage 90 minutes later alongside killer bee compatriots Raekwon and Cappadonna. The set marked the 20th anniversary of Raekwon’s solo debut Only Built for Cuban Linx, but the Chef’s voice was completely shot. Cappadonna and a crowd full of Wu lifers had his back, carrying verses on classic Wu bangers “Triumph,” “Ice Cream,” and “Incarcerated Scarfaces.”
Complete SXSW Music coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw/music