By Savannah Olson
Another spring break, another South by Southwest to attend. This year, I decided to hit up Urban Outfitter’s DIY space, Space Twenty-Four Twenty, where they set up a stage and held free concerts for the masses at SXSW. The first day consisted of a slew of hip hop/pop artists, with rising stars like the El Paso native Khalid and “Broccoli” writer, D.R.A.M.
Two artists stood out to me while there, based on their range of music and the energy they brought to the small stage. DUCKWRTH, a rapper from South Central with a knack for graphic design, was a ball of energy that could change at any moment. On his song “Beach House”, he serenaded the crowd as he held a red rose in his hand and gave off Frank Ocean vibes with the song’s gooey R&B beat. However, the mood shifted immediately in the next song, “RUUUN”, which begins with DUCKWRTH advising for a safe mosh pit environment and ends with everyone in the crowd, myself included, jumping up and down to DUCKWRTH’s angered cry of “Run!”
The other artist that captured my eye was Khalid, a singer-songwriter that hails from both El Paso and Germany. I had already been a fan of Khalid before the showcase, but his voice live is as excellent as it is through headphones. There is magnetism through his velvet harmonies that makes the audience still feel that tether that his most personal songs create. The crowd was singing along to every song about teenage woes and didn’t miss a beat to cheer when they heard a personal favorite. Even though his songs focus around his teenage years, each song evokes a memory or feeling that everyone can relate to, whether it be heartbreak or going out and doing something dumb for the sake of being young.
Featured illustration by Joseph Bonney.