Words by Natalie Weiner, Photos by Dan Petruzzi and Natalie Weiner—
LargeUp’s first-ever South by Southwest party, sponsored by House of Marley, took over the patio at Austin’s Empire Control Room and Garage on Wednesday. With artists and DJs from Trinidad, Jamaica, Brazil, the U.K., and New York, we definitely brought Caribbean flavor from around the globe to Texas.
Rice and Peas SxSW kicked off with DJs Mountain Doo, Gravy, Max Glazer, and Theory on the decks, spinning dancehall classics. Jubilee took over, bringing Zuzuka Poderosa and Marcel Mozambique on-stage for a little carioca funk. The crowd was ready to wine, and fortunately Miss Likkle Bit was on hand to provide some inspiration—her fantastically acrobatic moves got everyone on their feet. The Heatwave triple threat of Gabriel Heatwave, Rubi Dan and Zizi Scandals kept the party going with a high-energy set, passing out horns and whistles to create the carnival vibe. Los Rakas followed with their single “No Tan Listo” and “Abrazame” (“Hold Yuh” for hispanohablantes).
Screechy Dan was easily one of the afternoon’s highlights, bringing classic tunes like “Pose Off” and his distinctive dancehall yodeling, showcased in a cover of Hank Williams’s “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.” Screechy made sure to keep the performance truly authentic for all the Texans in the crowd with a Lone Star State-appropriate ten-gallon cowboy hat. Jesse Royal was also representing Jamaica at SxSW, and kept the vibe mellow with his uplifting spin on roots reggae.
Last but certainly not least was a performance from the Viking of soca himself, Bunji Garlin, and his Vi-queen, Fay-Ann Lyons. including Bunji’s recent Carnival anthems “Differentology,” “Carnival Tabanca,” and “Truck On Di Road.” Fay Ann even gave a wine lesson, a perfect way to cap off the best party at South By Southwest (not that we’re biased or anything).
Check out the island-meets-Austin vibes in House of Marley’s recap video below, and click through to see the some of the highlights for yourself.