iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014: Day 4 Master Post

iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014: G.R.L.

G.R.L. is listed as a new band, so it’s certainly no surprise that I’ve never heard of them before. They started their performance with a purely vocal, and immediately brought in a lot of energy as the backing music joined them on the stage. I was hit with a vibe that I wanted to compare to the Spice Girls at first, but I wasn’t sure that was the right comparison to make at first. 

The brought a lot of energy to the stage, and were certainly reminiscent of the 90s era of pop. Which in comparison to modern pop is sort of a breath of fresh air to me. Their lighting was just energetic as they were, but not in an overbearing way. Though their youth as performers showed in places, and they pushed their limits energy words, often ending up a bit breathless in places. All in all, I’ll be keeping an eye out for this group to see where they go from here. 

Cortlyn

——

So despite iTunes constantly freezing up on me, they have a very nice sound. It isn’t exactly my taste, but there’s enough about it to keep my attention. I’m actually sort of reminded of the Cheetah Girls from Disney Channel, if anyone remembers them. The few bits of their show that I can actually see involves a lot of secronized dancing and pro-GRL messages (did you know girls are always right? I didn’t – I learn something every day).

As the show goes on, it doesn’t hold my attention as well. Also, their voices when combined sort of overpowered most of the instrumentals, but that might have been a fault that wasn’t theirs. On a seperate note? Their dancing got old the second run through of the chorus of the second song. The audience doesn’t seem that impressed either – and that’s a very, very bad sign if as a club-pop artist, you can’t get every person jumping and dancing in their seat.

Individually and as a group, these GRLs seem very talented. I’m very excited to see what they come out with in the future. For now? They just seem like a repeated 90s stereotypical girl group with some modern day club beats thrown in.

Anna

iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014: Zedd

Zedd I’ve heard songs by before, so I went into this one with a bit more knowledge as to what to expect. He made his entrance in the dark, using his music to draw people in. The lights and images were used to the same effect, going in time with the music and not being used to illuminate him as much as the other artists have been illuminated. 

He’s one of the few more electronically based artists that I actively enjoy, though certain parts made me realize why it is that I listen to so few electronic artists to begin with (more to do with me having a few things that can cause me to feel what is best described as sensory overload than anything else). The few times that he was easily visible to me, he had a lot of energy and was really into his music. Mostly though, I was watching the light show because it was simply amazing. Easily one of my favorites from the entire festival. 

Despite being behind a booth, Zedd was an incredibly interactive artist. I either noticed for the first time, or it was the only show to do so, but the cameras broadcasting the live stream I watched had some of the effects from the screen overlayed on the video. While it was an incredibly sweet gesture, it also tended to be a bit much at times. All in all it was an absolutely fantastic show. 

At the tail end of Zedd’s performance Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance, choosing to jam to the music on the stage and help psyche the crowd up some, interacting with the crowd in the only way that Zedd was unable to. it was the perfect game changer for that moment. And after that it was turn after turn, with Zedd even switching to drums for a song and being joined by two other artists on stage. 

So to finally wrap up this review, Zedd put on a great show that was filled with multiple surprises. 

Cortlyn

Zedd is an artist that has been on my watch list for quite some time, probably for at least the last six months to year. I love seeing that he’s not one to disappoint! The show from the moment it started was very high energy, and very different from his more popular songs that play on the radio without totally distorting them.

His performance had me grooving in my seat from the first second that I sat down. I even got out of it at some points! The only thing that would have made the show better? iTunes Festival not overlaying the camera footage with what was playing on the monitors. That made everything very glitchy – but it did add to the sort of club atmosphere.

He brings life and energy into his performances – and you have no idea how hard that is to do when all you’re doing is sitting behind a booth! But he was grooving, he was getting the crowd involved, and he was reading what the crowd was into and he always knew what move to do next. As a DJ/Studio Person/Music Producer, that’s all it really takes to be a pro.

Then the surprise Lady Gaga appearance? HOLY SHIT MAN! Unexpected, much appreciated considering she was the vocals for that song. He brought in the big star at the absolute right moment too – just when the crowd was starting to slow down and needed it. And seeing her jam and dance and groove like that? It was very, very awesome. I will never understand her outfits though, but then again? I’m not supposed to.

I know Cortlyn usually falls for the drummers, but the moment he sat at the drums for the live bit, I was falling hard and fast. I can’t explain how amazing that live bit was. It was the perfect touch to what was an overall awesome and unique concert, by an incredibly talented artist

Summary? I loved it. High energy. Exactly what you’d expect from a SXSW show.

Anna

iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014: Pitbull

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t familiar with Pitbull. I may not listen to a lot of Pitbull but I do know quite a few of his songs. Pitbull’s entrance was just as large as you would expect, and he entered the stage with a lot of energy. Pitbull has had years to perfect his show persona, and didn’t disappoint. 

His light and graphics show was great, and he was one of the few performers to feature stage dancers in the show’s performances. Though the majority of his dance moves were kept simple, he was constantly moving. His show also featured the momentary return of G.R.L. for the song that they share together, as mentioned at the end of their first performance.

After wild Love the light and graphics returned with an intensity, but not one that was too overbearing. It was an excellent way to cover Pitbull’s momentary backstage recovery before he returned to performing at the same level he had started with. Pitbull himself was incredibly interactive, both with his backing band and the audience. 

Though he played a lot of songs that featured artists, he covered their absence by toying with different video effects on the screen, often featuring said missing singer during the parts when they would be singing. It was a very interesting and effective way to handle the situation. 

His entire show was incredibly high energy, and kept me watching through then entire thing, something I honestly couldn’t do for the previous two nights, though I think that was more of a mental state than anything else. Either way, it was a great show, despite some issues with lag in the stream of it about halfway through when it froze on me. I missed about five to seven minutes, but the lagging continued.

I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy Pitbull this much, but I’m glad that i stuck it out through the lag. You could tell how much the audience enjoyed the show, and how much Pitbull enjoyed performing. He was an active and varied performer, drifting through both of his main languages with ease. It was a great show all together, and it was fantastically enjoyable, featuring tastes of the new record, artists like Enrique Iglesias, Marc Antony, Kesha, Neyo, and Shakira through videos, and a surprise appearance by Austin Mahone. 

He kept his energy up through the entire show, never hesitating for a moment or faltering. An excellent show, and I’ll definitely consider hitting a proper concert of Pitbull’s one day. 

Cortlyn

——

I’m not a massive Pitbull fan, but I am very appreciative of his music – specifically? The way that it makes you want to get up and dance, no matter what. There has been more than one occasion where I’ll be totally bumming till a song like his comes on the radio and makes me want to shake my body line (Jump in the line? Rock your body on time? Anyone? I’ll get over my oldie songs now).

However, that being said… I’m totaly not one for major pop performances. They tend to bore me, if you didn’t notice at the beginning of this festival. But Pitbull? Commanded the stage, kept me interested, and played a nice mix of old hits and new – and the occasional flashback that makes you want to just get on your feet and dance.

Very impressive. Not saying that I would actually pay to see Pitbull in concert, but if I was invited or he was playing at a festival like this? I would definitely be excited to see him.

Overall? Very talented. Pitbull deserves all of the smash hits that he gets, because it’s perfect for the club and pop scenes as they are right now. And he’s great at his job of getting people up on their feet. 9/10 would absolutely recommend.

Anna

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