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Did we expect too much or get too little? FADER and vitaminwater bring A-Trak,Big Boi & Little Dragon Austin
The buzz around Tuesday’s FADER and vitaminwater collaboration, Uncapped, was as ridiculous and outlandish as it is every year at SXSW’s FADER Fort. Names of potential surprise guests get kicked around like the empty beer cans that litter the grounds of the magazine's SXSW hipster hotspot.
Tuesday night was no different.
Within 20 minutes of CultureMap posting the photo of Big Boi's arrival in Austin for Uncapped, which took place at the east side’s Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, I received a slew of text messages, confirming the rumor mill was already working overtime.
I heard everything from Diplo (who is currently in South Africa) to an OutKast reunion. The ridiculousness of the latter is unparalleled. If one of the greatest, most successful rap groups of the last 20 years was going to reunite, it would not be on a stage at the end of a roller rink in Austin, Texas.
None of those rumors were true, and who we announced did indeed play. However, it was how long the acts played that left people shaking of their heads at the end of the show.
Swedish electronic band Little Dragon, Montreal born/Brooklyn based DJ A-Trak, and one-half of Atlanta hip-hop pioneers OutKast, Big Boi, all took the stage Tuesday.
One rumor that was seen to be true: Big Boi and Little Dragon have written a song together, and they performed it Tuesday night. The funky, synth- and piano-centric tune “Mama Told Me” closed out Little Dragon’s opening set, with Big Boi suddenly appearing onstage as lead singer Yukimi Nagano announced a “very special guest” without too much fanfare.
The track is included on Big Boi’s November 13 release, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, from which a number of singles have already been released.
This, unfortunately, was the climax of the evening.
The rest of Little Dragon’s set was fantastic, playing a slew of tracks off of last year’s Ritual Union, as well as a few tracks from 2007’s underrated self-titled debut, Test, and the 2009 follow up, Machine Dreams ("Looking Glass," "My Step"). Yukimi Nagano bobbed on stage with a sexy smile and interacted with the crowd just enough to create rapport yet not waste any time.
Let's be real: While he may be Kanye's former DJ and an incredibly talented artist, A-Trak is somewhat old news, and his stage presence — especially after a brief Big Boi appearance — came off a bit boring. There wasn’t enough of a light show or crowd excitement to make his set as entertaining as it could have been.
I caught myself bobbing my head to the beat a couple of times, but as far as a live show goes, it lacked the freshness required to sustain my attention. It was as if everyone in the venue took a chance to hit the bar a few times during A-Trak's set to grab some free Dos Equis.
The evening played out like a waiting game, with patrons checking their watches and cell phones every so often during A-Trak’s set. With Big Boi dropping a new album in a few months, the crowd was expecting to see Sir Lucious Left Foot take the stage for a full set, not just a one song tease.
But it wasn’t a one song tease — it was two.
Both Big Boi and Nagano joined A-Trak on stage to perform “Shutterbug,” the lead single from Big Boi’s 2010 release, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. And that was it — the show was over. Everybody was asked to leave and grab a Vitamin Water on the way out.
A drunken chorus of disappointment rang throughout the parking lot of the venue. While it was a good time and free, there is no denying who the crowd was there to see.
Perhaps Austinites have been spoiled by FADER and the annual revelry we partake in each year at SXSW's FADER Fort. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances that lead to the all too brief appearance of Big Boi. Or maybe an artist that Austin has grown somewhat tired of got too much stage time.
Any way you cut it, you have to admit it was better than an average Tuesday night.
What did you guys think?