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Taken from Hot Press (Mar 17, 2017)

Live Report - SXSW 2017 Day Three - At The Drive In, Danny Brown, Denzel Curry, Le Butcheretts & PWR BTTN

Cedric Bixler-Zavala's lifetime ban from performing at Austin's Mohawk venue was temporarily suspended for one night as the ex-Mars Volta member played a one off show at South By.

by Ed Murphy

Music/Report: 17 Mar 2017

There may be snow storms on the east coast of America causing major flight issues for numerous bands, but in Texas, it was another sun drenched day, with another avalanche of bands to catch. On the East side of i95, Hotel Vegas again cemented itself as a must visit venue.

Outside on the Patio stage Death Valley Girls' rambunctious rock riffs rained out across the blue sky as the evening sun descended on Austin. Slight panic arose for the four-piece's singer Bonnie Bloomgarden when she misunderstood the sound man holding up five fingers - indicating five more minutes. "What! We don't have five more songs we can play, we barely have one more," she quipped. The Los Angeles group finished their remaining song in raucous fashion.

On the Volstead stage Warbly Jets' instrument set up was so vast that the frontman had to set up where the first two rows of concert goers would usually be standing. Singer Samuel Shae was so immersed in his guitar strumming that he lost his balance and crashed to the floor. That slip up was purely cosmetic, as the L.A. band raged through a stomping set.

At Stubb's on Red River, arguably the most fabulous group of SXSW, PWR BTTN, sang songs about teaching people to use gender neutral pronouns and when fuckboys won't text you back. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins' hilarious on stage banter in between songs was as good as the duo's punk laced sound. And for a band that encourage gender-defying fashion, Singer Hopkins stole the show wearing a gorgeous shimmering gold dress.

The always reliable Mohawk hosted the packed House Of Vans bill. Last time At The Drive In's frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala played at Mohawk he ripped a fire extinguisher off the wall and doused the audience with foam. He was promptly told never to return to the venue again. Nonetheless, everyone deserves a second chance, and the El Paso punk rockers took theirs with glee. Zavala crashed around every inch of the stage as his iconic Afro hair shook uncontrollably, diving into the crowd every chance he could. Omar Rodríguez-López's guitar playing was mesmerising as the five-piece previewed new tracks from an upcoming LP. Even though people presumed the group broke up, their comeback is definitely in full swing.

21-year-old Denzel Curry performed on the Mohawk patio stage. It isn't hard to tell why the Carol City rapper is tipped to go from underground star to mainstream success. His rapid fire lyrical delivery is paired with beats that are a cross between banging hip-hop and heavy metal. Mid-set the Floridian jumped from stage in to the audience to perform a track in the middle of the mosh pit. His boundless energy and hard hitting sound are something to behold.

Inside Mohawk the garage punk sound of the Le Butcherettes could be heard way before you entered the room. Singer Teri Gender Bender looked like a punk possessed Kate Bush throughout the gig with red lip stick line drawn across her face and eyes. Her voice was so powerful that when she deliberately stood back away from the microphone there was barely any audible difference to her singing.

At Empire on East 7th Street, the last concert of the night was headlined by one of the most original artists making music at the moment, Detroit's Danny Brown. The rapper's 2016 LP 'Atrocity Exhibition' was one of the best hip-hop albums of the decade, so it's fair to say there were high expectations for the 36-year-old. Sporting his Afro mohawk, dressed in all white Brown sauntered around the stage performing 'I Will' from the 2011 LP 'XXX', as well as tunes from his 2013 album 'Old' and his latest superb release. Brown's showcase was also a one off performance, which left hundreds of fans outside the venue queueing with no hope of getting in to see him.


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