YEAR0001 Showcase - The Main II
Sad boy roundup.
The Year0001 showcase was probably one of the more holistically well done showcases of the entirety of SXSW. This concert featured a range of artists from Ecco2K, Thaiboy Digital, Bladee, and Yung Lean
The scene in the room was pretty much industrial concrete - concrete jungle if you will. The animals were out to wile out with tears streaming down the face. Everyone in my immediate vicinity were of surprisingly mixed ethnic identities, and people like me seemed to stand out not having dyed hair. Hypebeasts were the majority though.
Thaiboy's set proceeded with a full force blast of raw, jumping trap beats. Thaiboy's autotuned yelps really poured a lot of energy into the room. A positive attribute of the sad boizzz is that this crowd had some respect for one another. This was obvious from how people made an effort to prevent people from being trampled in the hopping earthquakes Thaiboy induced. There were even bros speaking to other bros about their plans to marry their girlfriends, and connecting over Doritos Locos tacos.
My favorite aspect of Thaiboy's set is how the absolute madman had endless energy. Not a single inch of that stage was untouched and the man could lead a cult with his ad libs alone.
After Thaiboy's bangers, a more emotional set proceeded. I actually think the sad boy amplified with each following artist, so big ups to YEAR0001 for that. I wish I could forget Bladee's set and relive it for the first time again if that lets you know how golden that experience was.
Bladee came on the stage looking like a man who was born from AI and who went to art school. Bladee's melancholic, autotune ballads about sweet blood and relationship troubles really hit a sad, sad homerun. My favorite aspect of the set was how invested the crowd was in it at all, too. They could recite lyrics to every Bladee song, including some of the deeper cuts Bladee threw in.
A hallmark of Bladee's aesthetic is the glitchy, iridescent imagery he ties into his show's backdrop. It's unique, and the vivid colors and flashes are enticing. Nothing sounds more appropriate for the sad boy than attention.
But what's really special about Bladee is how he's mastered controlling autotune to compliment the lifeless, sadness in his voice. Also, how fragile the pal looks. He sings for people to be nice to him, but a hug awaits from this KVRX DJ.
Full sad boiiii mode was activated for Yung Lean's set. Yung Lean actually introduced a lot of artists in leading up to his own performance - a hype boost for sure. He changed outfits from a normie polo into a dark, concrete gray hoodie that matched the industrial equipment surrounding him. He came out immediately on a high note blasting the speakers with continuous trap bass.
What I love about Yung Lean's stage presence is you can hear the stretch and harshness of him rapping aggressively to trap beats one moment, then then hear him sing a tragic sad boy ballad about overcoming addiction the next.
I can't honestly say that Yung Lean was an artist I paid attention to except for the meme of it. However, this show plus Yung Lean's collaboration and friendship with one of the artists of our generation - Frank Ocean - has made me appreciate his music so much more.
This one's for you sad boys.
Photo by: Jaime Barrientos