Austin, we have arrived! A bit of rain welcomed us to Texas for our first-ever FLOODfest—an event curated by us, for you, and presented by our awesome sponsors Lyve—of some of our favorite headlining acts, not to mention (the point of SXSW!) an amazing collection of up-and-coming talents you should not miss.
The festivities started just before noon with a mini-showcase of Dutch Impact artists Jacco Gardner, Sevdaliza, and Taymir. It continued with clearer skies and an incredible lineup presented by INgrooves featuring the magnificent Avid Dancer, raucous Brit mischief-makers Skinny Lister, the soulful symphonic Geographer, Libertines co-frontman Carl Barât and The Jackals, and the spectacularly charming Frank Turner (who had, he confessed, traded up in the T-shirt department the night previous by swapping with a stranger on the street). Day turned to night and Cedar Street Courtyard filled to the brim for an encore act from Taymir, the awe-inspiring harmonizing of Dotan (in his first US appearance), beat-laden grooves from Basecamp, upstart energy from Speedy Ortiz, a diverse and multi-cultural DJ set from Win Butler (as DJ Windows 98), and an unforgettable headlining set from Austin’s very own, Spoon.
The second day of our inaugural FLOODfest, four days and three nights of music at Cedar Street presented by Lyve, kicked off Thursday morning with a showcase by Øya Festival, highlighting some of Norway’s finest: Hanne Kolstø, Haust (who were an excellent morning wake-up call), and Marit Larsen. The Paradigm/ASCAP showcase featured the reverbed pop of Hippo Campus, alt-synthers Swimm, the energetic Tove Styrke, raucous beats from Years & Years, and an absolutely dynamic set from The Ting Tings.
After a short programing break, we returned for our evening’s schedule of music—welcomed by a huge line around the corner of SXSW-ers. English rock heroes The Vaccines took the stage first and subsequently set the tone for the rest of the night. Viet Cong were up next and soldiered on despite drummer Mike Wallace’s arm in a sling. He never missed a beat, however, and was given a hand by METZ drummer Hayden Menzies for a double, deafening dose of percussion. The galvanizing set ended in amplified chaos—and no less than four broken strings. Menzies got no recess, as METZ followed their fellow Canadians with an equally abrasive and stunning display as the trio tore through a rapid-fire set of scorchers. Satisfyingly turned up to eleven, King Tuff kept the good times rolling with a joyous and high-spirited performance that lead into headliner (and SXSW’s reigning darling) Courtney Barnett. Barnett treated the crowd to an electric show of songs from her full-length debut, and closed out Thursday night collapsing into a wailing solo that left sustained elation from night into early morning.
By day three of our inaugural FLOODfest, four days and three nights of music at Cedar Street presented by Lyve, the rain finally began to make its presence known, but thankfully didn’t put a damper on the afternoon. Sweden showcased a few of their finest with Good Harvest,InDevotion, and Amason, while Capitol Music Group put together an eclectic lineup of charasmatic Canadian rapper SonReal, an emotional and beautifully heavy performance from sibling trio James Davis, a brief but entrancing set from Seinabo Sey, young provocateur/chanteuse Halsey, and California’s Finest Best Coast.
The evening was a beat-laden narcotic—started right by Mick Jenkins and followed up with an intoxicating performance from Nosaj Thing just as the evening began to turn dark and neon. Twenty-six-year-old Mass Appeal rapper Fashawn primed the at-capacity crowd while, afterwards, Welsh trio Until the Ribbon Breaks broke out the synths and percussive beats to get the crowd moving. But then, the night belonged to Run The Jewels. Thrilling the frenzied crowd with a show as merciless as it was deftly executed, El-P and Killer Mike started the machine up only to take it all apart over a rapid-fire of blistering commentary and expertly delivered beats and verses, both riotous and rapturous. Thanking the security, police, and crowds for their mutual cooperation, the respect on all sides enabled the blockbuster night to be all it could—and was.