The music portion of South by Southwest 2016 (also known as the part with fewer tech bros) takes place between Tuesday, March 15, and Sunday, March 20. Every day, we’ll name our favorite act we caught in Austin, Texas.
During the final two days of SXSW 2016 (technically, the Austin festival wrapped up on Sunday, March 20, but most out-of-towners leave Saturday; the money they spent on overpriced Lone Stars, however, stays behind), I caught 13 bands, and now I never want to see live music again. Okay, that’s only half-true: I never want to see live music again, unless it’s Deftones, CHVRCHES, or Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals.
Deftones and CHVRCHES were the headliners at Spin‘s annual showcase at Stubb’s (last year, Run the Jewels tore the place apart), a weird double bill of sorts that started to make sense when singer Lauren Mayberry commented that she and her bandmates, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, watched the art-metal titans from the sidelines. The reverence the crowd had for both acts connected them, as well. For Deftones-newcomers, it wasn’t easy making out what Chino Moreno was singing with Stubb’s echoey sound system, but fans impressively managed to shout out the words over the group’s elegantly brutal noise. They tore through nine songs in just over 40 minutes, including the one-two punch of White Pony classics “Digital Bath” and “Knife Prty,” the former with a guest verse from Bushwick Bill. He was received more warmly than the great Vince Staples, who performed earlier in the afternoon and was greeted with mostly indifferent faces — mostly indifferent white faces (at one point, Staples joked/not joked, “I feel like I’m at a slave auction”). Only one song, the anthemic “Prayers/Triangles,” was played from Deftones’ first album in four years, Gore (out April 8), but it already sounds well worn-in.