BUKU Music + Art Project succeeds despite disappointments
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The living, avant-garde BUKU Music + Art Project 2017 featured a variety of musicians and artists of many backgrounds. Attractions such as the Live Graffiti Gallery, stilt walkers, live dancers and, of course, music performances graced the festival this year. Though The Arcade could not make it to every performance, here are a few musical performances that stood out, for better or worse, from the two days of festivities.
Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest is that indie, lo-fi pop band that captures the nostalgia of the unavoidable middle school emo phase in the best, most wholesome way possible — and its music is better. Started in 2010 by frontman Will Toledo, the band drew only a modest crowd to its set. What the audience lacked in numbers, it compensated for in enthusiasm for the music. In the limited time it had, Car Seat Headrest performed older songs as well as newer, more popular tracks, such as “Vincent.” Its connection to not only the music but to one another was strong and apparent in the performance.
Travis Scott closed the Power Plant main stage on Friday. Fans turned out in hordes to witness his first concert in months. The stage was set with massive bird cages in an ode to his 2016 album “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.” The whole crowd came ready to rage, well aware of Travis Scott’s reputation for inciting crowds into a frenzy — he was arrested for disorderly conduct after five minutes of performing at Lollapalooza in 2015. His heated performance did not disappoint, as he worked hard to hype up the crowd while smoking a joint and spitting angry verses.
The self-proclaimed “King of the Teens” (also known as Lil Boat) put on a divisive show: stirring to some, insufferable to others. His youthful energy was as revitalizing as the water he sprayed from water bottles across the barricades, but some Tulane students found his performance overall underwhelming. In the past, Yachty’s genre has been categorized as “happy rap,” “bubblegum trap” and “boat music,” which all encapsulate the fun tone his songs convey. He performed all the crowd favorites, saving “One Night,” the song that made him a household name, for last.
Run the Jewels
Frequent performers in New Orleans, Run the Jewels emerged on stage more lively than ever. Almost immediately, Killer Mike held up the RTJ hand gesture — a gun and fist — and the audience went wild. The presence of the duo emanated off the stage and through the hip-hop beats. The energy and joy of the performance infected the audience instantly. Though not a native of the area, Killer Mike has explored New Orleans more in the past, even speaking at Tulane in November 2015 about race politics and police brutality, among other subjects.
$UICIDEBOY$ no doubt had one of the most invigorating performances at BUKU. As a group of New Orleans natives, $UICIDEBOY$ was naturally excited to take the stage, referring to the opportunity to perform at BUKU as an “honor.” As vaporwave musicians, it drew more of a niche crowd, which worked in its favor. Akin to Yung Lean and other vaporwave rap artists, the lyrics were absurd, and the visual aesthetics resembled glitchy VHS recordings and trippy patterns. The set was so energetic that the rappers refused to leave the stage after their time slot ended, performing an encore song to continue the fun.
Surprisingly, 21 Savage was one of the most disappointing performances by far, second only to Young Thug, who did not even end up performing. Savage was scheduled to perform for an hour but came on stage 20 minutes late and ended his performance 20 minutes early. The actual performance, which was mediocre at best, only lasted for 20 minutes. He performed some of his better-known songs like “X” and “No Heart,” but many crowd favorites, like “Savage Mode,” were missing.