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SXSW Thursday Night Wrap 03/17/11: Jamie Woon, White Mystery, Jamie XX, Moby, Donnis, B.o.B., Wiz Khalifa, James Vincent McMorrow

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Jamie Woon @ ND’s:

Mr. Woon brought his neo-neo-soul (or post-dubstep, whatevs) to ND’s on Thursday Night for a set at the Windish Agency House. We’re big fans of Jamie’s music and made it a priority to catch him live at SXSW (Even if it meant walking 2+ miles to get down to ND’s). So what did it sound like? Jamie Woon live is kind of like being in a really cool elevator or in the lobby of an ultra-chic hotel. The music kind of takes on this smooth jazz-esque quality at times, layers of atmospheric keys and synths tangled up with Jamie’s soulful but quiet vocal. The sound, itself, fit the performance quality of its creator, totally cool and soulful but also shy and unassuming. Jamie’s band of 2 electronic musicians and 1 live drummer did well to support the production heavy songs in a non-studio setting. Set closer and single “Lady Luck”, with its pulsing synth rhythms and syncopated beats was the far and away set highlight. As the maybe 3/4′s full room all seemed to not only know the song but really got down on it, head bobbing, finger snapping, toe tapping.

Jamie Woon – Lady Luck (Al Fresco)

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White Mystery @ Headhunters:

Chicago’s rock princess Alex White, continues her streak of killer projects with White Mystery. If you love straight forward and shameless rock and roll, then this band should make your list. Their only “official” set of SXSW this year was at Headhunter’s and it runs in the top 3 for most balls-to-the-wall performances we caught all trip! Into it.

White Mystery – Ye Olde Stone

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Jamie XX @ Virgin Mobile Live House:

Kickin’ it with our peeps at the Virgin Mobile Live House, we ran into none other than Jamie XX! That’s kinda cool. Then we discovered he’d be spinning a private DJ set in the living room of the VML House in the next 20 minutes. Fucking sick! The vibe was intense. With maybe 30 people packed in the room, Jamie XX flowed out a spaghetti-western intro to some classics including Biggie, and mixed it all up with some fresh ideas. It was surreal. We got down.

Rui Da Silva – Touch Me (Jamie XX Remix)

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Moby @ Karma Lounge:

Moby was 100% dance party at Karma Lounge. It was a bit a surprise, as he was billed to have an “ambient DJ set”, but from the onset it was wall-to-wall body moving beats. Spinning a set most firmly rooted in his classics and beats heavy early material, Moby stayed clear away from his more cinematic and recent compositions. No matter the style of this set Moby can owns its musical spectrum. Thursday night was club night.

Moby – A Seated Night

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Donnis @ La Zona Rosa:

We rolled over to La Zona Rosa for the Atlantic Showcase, an all-star lineup that included Janelle Monae, B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Wiz Khalifa and Atlanta MC Donnis. We were able to catch maybe 3 songs or so of his set. We noticed right away Donnis’ ability to hype the crowd, keep them entertained, keep them engaged in his performance regardless of how much or how little of his material the audience actually knew. There were fans though, a sizable portion of the crowd knew his material and knew it well enough sling it back, line for line.

Donnis – Lightning (feat. Colin Munroe)(Prod. by Count Justice + Needlz + Calvo Da Gr8)

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B.o.B. @ La Zona Rosa:

In between Donnis and what we thought would be Wiz Khalifa, (official set schedule, y’all!) a recent signee to Atlantic singer-songwriter Jeffrey Jocelyn was inexplicably trotted out in front of the La Zona Rosa crowd of hip hop heads. Mr. Jocelyn did a sort of Adult Contemporary-style ballad (Think Matt Nathanson or Jason Mraz) and did it alright, but you had to feel for the guy, NO ONE was listening. Bollocks on the A&R that green lighted that move! Anyway, as Jocelyn left the stage, post his one song stand, he left with “B.o.B. is up next.” We were like, “OK, dude was prob misinformed/nervous, or maybe… our man had inside info cause he and B.o.B. really are tight.” (Jeffrey Jocelyn was introduced as “B.o.B.’s friend”.)

Sure enough, B.o.B. was introduced and from the first bar of song 1 – it was on. Verse 1. Verse 2. It was serious. It was clear the bar was being raised. B.o.B. was killing it. Seeing B.o.B. live most definitely gave us a levelled up appreciation of him as a rapper. Bobby Ray has otherworldly type skills on the mic. His rapid fire rhymes, his delivery, but also his sense of melody and dynamics. “Beast Mode”, a standout from his recent No Genre mixtape, was shredded. “Don’t Let Me Fall” took on a lyrical depth live that was unexpected. “Nothin’ On You”, B.o.B.’s Summer 2010 megahit, was cut short mid-song by the MC, “You can hear this shit all the time on the radio. What do y’all want to hear.” The crowd went bananas. He had them. That sentiment was a bit of theme for the show though, B.o.B. went hardest, seemed most interested in his less-pop material, his older mixtape material. The Atlanta MC closed the set with “Airplanes” with the crowd playing Hayley Williams, shouting back each hook with an increasing volume and intensity. B.o.B’s set was great. From the lyricism, to the songwriting, and now to the live show, dude has most definitely earned everything he’s attained so far. Win.

B.o.B. – Airplanes (Feat. Hayley Williams)

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Wiz Khalifa @ La Zona Rosa:

Wiz Khalifa loves to smoke weed. If you learned anything from his approx. 40-45 minute La Zona Rosa set you had opportunity, after opportunity, after opportunity to let that be it. The Taylor Gang rolled up nice; Wiz + a dozen or so of his boys. Immediately, Wiz was on the hustle, and this would be consistent throughout the set, “Rolling Papers, March 29. Y’all gonna get Rolling Papers March 29th, right?” Hip Hop is a hustle. Wiz has had to hustle for years to get to this point. It just seemed a bit weird/surreal for an artist of his stature to be hocking the LP with such frequency, in between songs, during songs, during other rapper’s features, shit was gonna get sold. Wiz previewed quite a few tracks off the new record and, being real, the songs just aren’t that strong. The rhymes don’t hit as hard, the beats aren’t as good or varied. One of Wiz’s greatest strengths, which made this set pretty enjoyable, is just the sheer variety in his music. Midwestern style, West Coast, Southern, East Coast style, Wiz sort of marries them all. But this new shit? It sounds like the radio, but in a bad way. Hackneyed attempts to make Wiz sound “relevant”, when what made him Wiz Khalifa, major league rapper, was him and his weirdness and his weed smoking, but mostly his weirdness.

Anyway, the set was solid. “That Good”, Wiz’s recent collaboration with Snoop, ripped. “Mezmorized” was sick. Wiz even dropped in a brief tribute to Nate Dogg rhyming over “Xxplosive” and “Regulate”. Despite being high as fuck (there’s that weed thing again), Wiz came off with great energy and managed to smoothly switch the gears up post-B.o.B.’s lightning fast set. “Now I’m gonna play everybody’s favorite song.” “Black and Yellow” wrapped up the set. The Billboard #1 was a highlight. EVERYBODY knew it. Tons of fun.

Wiz Khalifa – I Choose You

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James Vincent McMorrow @ Friends:

We wrapped up our St. Patrick’s Day proper at Friends’ bar. b3sci fav James Vincent McMorrow was there closing the ‘Music from Ireland’ showcase. The room was maybe half-full. A crowd of, perhaps, 75 fans stayed up late to catch the Dublin singer-songwriter. They weren’t disappointed. The beautiful “Breaking Hearts” opened the set. We’re immediately taken with the live slide guitar. It sounds phenomenal. The band sounds great. “This is the latest I’ve ever sang.”, said McMorrow as the set passed the 1:30 mark. “If I Had a Boat” was stunning. Hearing McMorrow and co. hit those harmonies live is just remarkable. The coos, and cries, the melismas remind of Jeff Buckley or even Thom Yorke. The sound situation on stage is not good. The band’s battling all sorts of onstage monitor issues. The band, McMorrow still sound crazy good. James McMorrow is a total artist. He has to do this. Music is what he has to do. “From the Woods” is gorgeous, hushed, the sweet melodies soothe our weary trekked-every-which-way-across-Austin bones. The set finishes as quietly as it started. McMorrow apologizes for the sound quality, his voice (!) and walks off stage.

James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat

Catch all of b3sci’s SXSW 2011 coverage HERE

Contributed by Alex Sheehan
Photography contributed by Genevieve Sheehan

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