The Fader Fort showcase comes from the collaboration between Converse and Fader magazine. Throughout the years, they have had artists from all genres grace the same stage. Last year’s performers included Schoolboy Q, Future, Disclosure, Sky Ferreira, Solange, and plenty more with surprise guests being Usher, Diddy and Pharrell Williams. The first three days of the Fader Fort at SXSW 2014 consisted of Big Freedia, YG, London Grammar, Chromeo, and Damon Albarn to name a few.
I attended the 4th day of this year’s Fader Fort showcase which featured artists Destruction Unit, Young & Sick, Wet, Jojo, Nothing, SZA, Travis Scott, Julian Casablancas, with the final performance from Rick Ross to celebrate 15 years of The Fader magazine.
With doors opening at 1 pm, the line was already three blocks down to the I-35 freeway, according to various accounts on twitter. Knowing this, I made my way downtown in the rain and bought a $5 poncho to cover myself while waiting in line. Due to the multiple lines I had encountered during the last three days of SXSW, I was not expecting to get into the Fader Fort.
The line moves quickly and I was inside by 2:20, while the band Young & Sick were playing their set. I enjoyed my first meal of the day from Hat Creek Burger Company food truck accompanied by the complimentary Vitamin Water.
I made it to the stage in time to see Wet perform a twenty minute set with her live band. She has a soft voice and thanked us for the applause after every song she performed. Wet’s physical appearance is simple but her voice and talent is anything but ordinary.
After a thirty minute set up, former teen pop sensation making a come back, Jojo arrived on stage. Performing her first hit single from 10 years ago, “Leave (Get Out)”, she introduced herself to the crowd in case they forgot who she was. She then performed “Baby It’s You”, Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in a Rapture” and Phil Collins “Take Me Home”. She ended her nostalgic performance with “Too Little, Too Late” which had the crowd singing at the top of their lungs. It was clear Jojo was ecstatic to rock the stage at the Fader Fort and we were too. Check out pictures and videos from Jojo’s performance:
I decided to check out all the activities the Fader Fort had to offer to gain the total experience. They made use of both the indoors and outdoors at the event. There was the option to paint your own converse, take an instagram photo to end sameness, painting glass bottles, free T-shirt printing and many more ways for individuals to express themselves. Indoors, there were televisions and other devices set up from Dell and Intel, creating a resting area for attendees to charge their phones and relax between sets.
I made my way to the stage to see SZA , who is part of Top Dog Entertainment, perform her set. She had great chemistry with her band and even brought out her label mate, Schoolboy Q, to perform his single “Man of the Year” from his album Oxymoron.
By this time, it was becoming crowded and the audience was energized from the last set. Houston’s own, Travis Scott, took the stage performing his hits “Uptown”, “Quintana”, and “Upper Echelon” as he crowd surfed and took on top of the speakers. Other attendees decided to join the wave and crowd surfed as well. Travis Scott then brought out his friend and collaborator, Casey Veggies. Every time I have experienced Travis Scott perform has been unforgettable.
Julian Casablancas and The Voids took the stage next, performing their set with minimal lighting to form a darker ambiance. Afterwards, I decided to sit towards the back of the fort where they laid faux grass on an elevated ground and watched the rest of the show from there. Erykah Badu performed a surprise set of her own, incorporating “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. It was a treat to watch a legend perform a live show. Houston’s Bun B also performed his own unexpected set with his hits “Big Pimpin” and “International Players Anthem.” Then we waited for the star of the show, Rick Ross, who had recently released a new album Mastermind.
At around 10 PM, Rick Ross graced the stage with cutout versions of himself to perform old songs and new songs from his album. He brought out Erykah Badu again to perform with him and went along to sing a few features of his own. Songs from his set included “John”, “I’m a Boss”, “BMF”, “Pop That” and “I’m on One”. Check out his performance of “9 Piece”:
Keep a look out for posts sharing my experience at SXSW 2014!