Lost Weekend SXSW day 1 pics: Rico Nasty, Japanese Breakfast, Priests, Phony Ppl, more
The BrooklynVegan x Margin Walker SXSW day parties, Lost Weekend, are back for the third consecutive year, and this year we moved to Austin venue Mohawk. The first of two 2019 day parties went down Thursday, and this one was presented in partnership with M For Montreal.
The day began bright and early with DC punks Priests on the outdoor stage at 12:15 PM. Priests have been a great live band for a while now, and they were as fierce as ever on Thursday. They did tone it down a bit when they previewed songs from their upcoming album The Seduction of Kansas, which sees them going in an ever so slightly calmer direction. Despite the differences, the new songs mixed in perfectly with the old faves.
At the same time on the inside stage was NYC indie rock newcomer Samia, who really proved why she’s been on the rise. Samia’s already a rockstar performer, she’s got an ace band, and when they did a totally genuine, faithful cover of “My Sharona,” the crowd ate it up.
After Priests, the outside stage was host to Japanese Breakfast, whose dream pop-ish indie rock sounded great under the hot Austin sun. They ran through faves like “Boyish,” “Everybody Wants To Love You,” “Road Head,” their cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” and more, and they were as airtight as ever.
Next up inside was Prateek Kuhad and his band who came to Austin all the way from New Delhi, India. He switched between guitar and keyboards, all while delivering his angelic vocals.
He was followed on the inside stage by Control Top, who were one of my personal favorite acts of the day. They’re like Sonic Youth meets Le Tigre meets Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets Touch & Go-style hardcore, and they already look and sound as convincing as those bands did early on. They’re the ideal power trio, where every member brings something entirely unique and crucial to the band. Singer/bassist Ali Carter is as confrontational and intimidating as you want from a punk band, and she’s got both a knack for melody and a piercing scream. She didn’t break character once during the show (even when she said something to the effect of “we may seem hateful but we love you too”), and the one song where she looped her bass and hopped into the crowd to just sing, she was even more of a force. Guitarist Al Creedon (ex-Bleeding Rainbow) didn’t say a word the entire show, but he had just as massive a presence as Ali. His guitar playing varied between bashing chords, technical fretwork, and abrasive noise, and his stage presence was as unbridled as his playing. He’d drill his guitar in the ground like a jackhammer or swing it around his body, and he was met by approving screams from the crowd more than once. And holding it all down was drummer Alex Lichtenauer (also of the HIRS collective), who is truly a beast. You need a pounding, precise drummer for music like this, and Alex is both of those things and more. Their debut album Covert Contracts comes out April 5 via Get Better, and when it comes out I can’t recommend checking it out enough.
Around the time Control Top were finishing up, Quebec’s Hubert Lenoir brought down the house on the outside stage. He’s a total devotee to ’70s glam, from his Bowie-esque songs to his eyeliner and flamboyant stage presence, and he’s got a super funky band made up entirely of high-energy performers. Their cowbell player rocked harder than almost anyone I saw play yesterday. Hubert often sings in French, but I was instantly hooked even when I didn’t understand a word he was saying. He stage dove multiple times and whether he was on the stage or in the crowd, nobody could take their eyes off of him.
I missed a few of Hubert’s songs to catch Bronx rapper Kemba on the inside stage, and he was a magnetic performer too. He was big on crowd interaction and the audience was very happy to participate whenever he asked, and he is also a seriously skilled rapper. He’s got that classic New York rap attitude where sharp lyricism and killer rhymes are all that matter, and he does it as well as many of the greats.
The rap continued on the outside stage after Kemba with Tempe, Arizona trio Injury Reserve, who are sort of in the same noise/industrial rap realm as Death Grips but with a little more of a classic hip hop feel. Maybe it’s just because I saw De La Soul a night earlier, but the chemistry between Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie With a T reminded me of classic combos like that. They recently became the second hip hop act to sign to Loma Vista (following Denzel Curry), and they’ve got a new album coming out on the label at some point in 2019. Judging by the amount of crowd members who were already moshing and yelling the words, I have a feeling the album is gonna be a hit.
Back on the inside stage was Wand, who have been branching out from their garage rock roots and heading in a more Radiohead-like art rock direction. They clearly had a lot of fans in the house just for them, and deservedly so. Super tight and suuuuuuper tripppppy.
Next up outside was NYC’s Phony Ppl, whose soulful, genre-defying sound was impossible to deny. They cruised through funk and reggae rhythms to smooth soul to shredding rock guitar solos and more, and they never let up. By the end of their set, they had the whole place under their spell and swaying along.
Around the same time, the inside stage hosted good chillwavy vibes from Les Louanges and super-tight post-punk from Pottery, and after that Westerman closed out the inside stage with his Peter Gabriel-esque pop.
While Westerman won over the inside crowd, Rico Nasty brought her incredible headlining set to the outside stage. Even before she hit the stage, there were chants of “RI-CO! RI-CO!,” and her DJ had the crowd moshing to his selection of hits while they awaited her arrival. When she finally hit the stage, the place immediately erupted, and the level of excitement only heightened from there. The place was full of people jumping up and down and yelling all the words and Rico looked and sounded like a star the whole time. Sometimes she would ditch the mic and just dance, but it didn’t even matter. The place was a constant madhouse and it’s obvious that there are already tons of Rico Nasty diehards. When she did her recent Doja Cat collab “Tia Tamera,” her DJ cut the sound on the hook and all of Mohawk had no trouble picking up the slack and screaming the song at full volume. Rico is the real deal, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to have ended the day.
Our second of two Lost Weekend day parties happens today (3/15) at Mohawk starting at noon with Laura Jane Grace up first, followed immediately by Amanda Palmer, and then Strand of Oaks, The Beths, J.S. Ondara, Fury, Otoboke Beaver, Mike Krol, and more throughout the day. Set times and more info HERE.
Like Thursday, Friday’s party is FREE and goes from noon to 6 PM. RSVP now so we know you’re coming, and for a chance TO WIN a pair of Master & Dynamic MW50+ 2-In-1 Wireless On-Ear + Over-Ear Headphones (a $399 value!). AND we’ll have more FREE exclusive Lost Weekend merch items courtesy of our merch partner AWESOME MERCH.
Make sure you’re a member of OkCupid because they’ll be inside — for the second year in a row — giving out free drinks to members with the app installed.