SXSW Music — DAY 1


Zachary Strain

Santigold performs at La Zona Rosa for the Warner Sound Showcase Tuesday night.

Elijah Watson

Unless you were fortunate enough to catch Jay-Z's exclusive performance at the ACL Moody Theater on Monday, most music patrons did not really get a taste of what SXSW had to offer until Tuesday. Opening up the music portion of the annual festival were an assortment of groups, including Santigold, Theophilus London, Danny Brown, and Delta Spirit.

La Zona Rosa foreshadowed the fun and unpredictability that SXSW is expected to bring with its Warner Sound Showcase. Up-and-coming artist Neon Hitch had no problem dazzling the crowd with her sultry decor and sexy dance-club tracks. Although the artist only performed three songs, it was more than enough; ending with "Love U Betta," the scandily-clad songstress dropped it low, leaving concertgoers on an energetic high. Following Neon Hitch was Outasight, a rapper and singer based out of Yonkers, New York. It's no wonder the guy has worked with the likes of Asher Roth; his party-friendly rhymes and sing-along choruses were the perfect formula for La Zona Rosa's young crowd.

Theophilus London took to the stage soon after, and offered plenty of classics and new songs for fans. "Last Name London" and "Flying Overseas" were mere appetizers to London's new tracks, including the "Big Spender," which features A$AP Rocky on the track. An onslaught of bass from the monitors had the crowd bumping butts; London attempted to do A$AP Rocky's freestyle, and although his flow may not be as smooth as the one and only "Pretty Muthafucka," London pulled it off.

Although London put on a great show, it was Santigold who killed it. Her band, decked out in Devo-like 1980s apparel, went through songs "L.E.S. Artistes," "Big Mouth" and "Creator." For "Creator," the electropop songstress brought fans onstage to dance along with her. The different selection of dance moves offered by participants had Santigold amused and fans pleased; the onstage dancers received a round of applause from the audience, and a look of approval from the singer herself.

Warner Sound weren't the only ones causing a ruckus; on the other side of town at 1100 Warehouse, rap magazine XXL hosted their Freshmen Showcase, highlighting some of the year's brightest new rappers. The set included rappers Future, Hopsin and the local Kydd, but it was up-and-comer Danny Brown who stole the show. His hair fluffed up and in disarray, Brown looked like a madman whose schizophrenic vocal delivery only contributed to his maniacal demeanor. Switching between a high-pitched nasal drawl and declarative shouts, Brown's performance was made even better by his charisma, giving the crowd a hyped-up set that will prepare them for the shows up ahead.