FLOODfest day two, partnered with Paradigm Talent Agency, started with a little sun—though before long clouds cloaked the sky and the day grew blustery (and stayed that way). Twenty-two-year-old Lucy Dacus of Richmond, Virginia, kicked off the line-up in her trademark red lipstick, black combat boots, and round owlish glasses that’ll remind you—hey, she’s a rock star, but she’s also an intellectual. Dacus sang fan favorite “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” from her debut album No Burden—a song laden with self-deprecation, an old Lucy standby—and her powerhouse voice was the perfect note to kick things off on.
LA band Neil Frances was next; an enigmatic psychedelic dance group, all four members dressed in white. Lead singer Neil sported long, blonde hair for a Cali-surf-dude-mixed-with-Jesus effect. Following them was LA pop songstress Nina Nesbitt, whose mic and keyboard were adorned with pink flowers. Nesbitt also wore pink sneakers and oversized rose sunglasses. In a charming Scottish accent, she introduced “The Best You Had,” a song about stalking an ex on social media post-breakup instead of exercising self-discipline. Many crowd members laughed at her explanation, clearly relating to the sentiment.
Jack Harlow’s set was short but sweet. The nineteen-year-old rapper from Louisville, Kentucky, wore a Dick Tracy t-shirt and shouted out his friends who were watching from the balcony. Joined by a backup singer and DJ, Harlow balanced precariously on the edge of the stage, his brown curls bouncing, making eye contact with a few fans mirroring back every rhyme he spit. To sing “Wasted Youth,” Harlow brought up his friend Shloob (who is featured on the song), who wore a fanny pack.
The four-piece hardcore rock band Starcrawler (also from LA) were the penultimate act, and not one we’re likely to forget. Lead singer Arrow de Wilde (daughter of renowned music photographer Autumn de Wilde) wore a pastel pink girdle paired with firetruck red hair and chainmail wrist bands. All band members were teens quite recently; Arrow, in fact, is eighteen now and fresh out of high school. She sang with an intensity both theatrical and a little frightening, drinking from a cup of fake blood before running through the crowd, purposefully spilling people’s drinks and smearing blood on FLOODfest banners. Following their final song, she wandered off stage as if in a trance, never breaking character.
Washington, DC, natives Jukebox the Ghost closed out the show, countering Starcrawler’s heft with spry, poppy energy. All three guys were clean-cut, hip, and wholesome. Pianist/vocalist Ben Thornewill wore a pink and white striped shirt and guzzled Red Bull in between songs; drummer Jesse Kristin periodically tossed aside one of his sticks to fish a tambourine (he had several) from a box next to his drum set. They ended with “Fred Astaire,” a cheesy tune with cheery lyrics (“When I dance like I don’t care, you call me Fred Astaire”) that sent SXSW-goers into the night on a positive high.
Special thanks to Deep Eddy Vodka, Original Penguin, Fender, and our official radio partner Sirius XMU, who are broadcasting live from FLOODfest all week.
Below, check out photos from FLOODfest, from Carlo Cavaluzzi.
FLOODfest Day Two