SXSW last day: David Banner kills it

Categories: Music, SXSW

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(David Banner at the Fader party)

Today was all about David Banner. I’ve seen a good half dozen plus acts since waking up but nothing even begins to compare. Banner had two DJs, a full live band, and the intensity of a boxer about to clean out his worst opponent. Dude was fierce. He got on stage late but turned the Fader party into a mosh pit, kids going crazy while he rapped hard about throwing elbows and 9mms. In between he was flexing his pecks, jumping on a photographer’s shoulders, putting a stage-hopping chick on his shoulders, running out into the crowd and up into the bleachers, and my favorite part -- doing backflips.

He was pissed (at George Bush, at Universal Records, at divisions between the races). He was pumped (that Fader put him on the cover “when my record was selling the least”; at white people who “don’t just stand there); he was aggro (about everything). Hands down the highest energy, most intense, in your face shit I’ve seen all weekend. But he also had a sense of humor – right before he closed out the set, his DJ rocked a bit of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as he and his crew chanted “White People….Rock.” The acts that followed didn’t have a chance (especially Telepathy, a limp, quiet female electro trio that barely got people to pay attention to the stage). Although BLK JKS from South Africa also kinda killed it—for all the talk of indie bands going Afro pop, here was an actual African act playing energizing Afro pop mixed with good old fashioned hard rock. And Santogold was dressed like M.I.A. but sounded like Ronnie Spector, singing over dub and '80s electro pop while Diplo DJed and her two unsmiling ladies danced in grey uniforms beside her.

Earlier in the day, I also hit Digitalism, the electronic duo I dig that's living in Justice’s shadow but who still got the crowd moving at the Vice day party, and the buzzed about The Place to Bury Strangers, a New York act that just kinda sounded same old heavy shoegazer stuff. – Jennifer Maerz

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