SXSW: PC Music Showcase
One of the first things I noticed about the crowd at last night’s PC Music showcase at SXSW was a guy, maybe about 22 years old, wearing the neon swirl, laminated cap that Marty McFly Jr. wears in Back to the Future Part II. When that movie came out in 1989, director Robert Zemeckis and producer Bob Gale intentionally overshot their concept of what things would be like in 2015 — giving the world flying cars, hoverboards, and an extremely fast court system. Weirdly though, these are more or less the only things they were wrong about. We facetime, we wear clothes inspired by late ‘80s/early ‘90s culture, we have small robots that vacuum our houses for us. If only Zemeckis and Gale took a stab at predicting what we’d be listening to, because the sounds of PC Music was more or less what I subconsciously envisioned all throughout these years, which has been finally realized by this collective.
Rock is alive and well at this festival but the PC Music band of misfits is the most 2015 thing here. The showcase started at 8 at Empire Garage, with an absolutely bananas line going up the street, that raged on throughout the night. Inside though, the chaos was surprisingly controlled. You could move around, which was perfect because this was music that was impossible not to shake to. I mean that literally –the bass hit pitches so low that my clothes and teeth were vibrating.
Early on, I heard some people talking about how they were only interested in seeing Sophie, the most popular of the group who’s headlining set wasn’t until around 1:30, but to actually split hairs over the worth of one DJ over the other would be a fool’s errand. This was a killer party from the drop of first act Easyfun’s first beat. The rest of the night was pretty much just a series of peaks with no major valleys although I will say that Kane West and Spinee were among the finest of the lesser known acts. PC founder A.G. Cook of course had a great set, but the artists that most of the audience were most excited to see were Hannah Diamond and QT, acts that were full on visual performance. Hannah Diamond came out looking great in a crop top and white cargo pants that looked like the ones Kylie Minogue used to wear. There wasn’t much to her presentation other than a lot of smoke, but she still sent a thrilling wave through the crowd. After her was QT, who stood tall on the stage like a beautiful cyborg sex doll, surrounded by soft drink cans bearing her name. Hearing her titular track as she danced with the dead eye gaze was probably my favourite part of the whole night.
Sophie closed out the set like a nuclear explosion finishing off the already well spent crowd. The set was good, but it was disappointing not hearing “Bipp,” which for my money is one of the best electronic tracks of this decade. He came out for a stilted non-encore, where he messed around with the dials for about 30 seconds before retreating (I think the venue might not have allowed him to go past 2). It was an anticlimactic little capper but it was kind of also part of the fun to the whole madness of the night. It was a showcase Marty McFly Jr. would have loved.
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