As the very first No Ceilings tour started in DC on Tuesday, we’re sharing a short throwback to SXSW when the Pigeons & Planes showcase quite literally lived up to its name.
On the last, balmy evening of SXSW, No Ceilings put on a beautifully curated line-up of artists from the US, Canada and the UK. Expecting no less from the team who brought us the likes of Desiigner and D.R.A.M. before the rest of the world knew about them, they always point to a space worth watching. Starting with the hypnotizing sounds of Jessie Reyez, yet another talent from Toronto (no OVO affiliation, yet) the evening was off to a very promising start. The tone switched up when Brooklyn-resident SAINt JHN brought his rock-star-come-rapper show to the stage, complete with model twin DJs and a ripped white tee, he ended the set by jumping into the flashing lights of the howling crowd.
The Peruvian-born and LA based artist A.CHAL, who has been co-signed by A$AP ROCKY, certainly lived up to the hype. Half the set behind shades, half the set without, he definitely knows how to draw in the (female) crowd with that certain something - probably just excellent music and a chic AF attitude.
My personal highlight (no patriotic bias…) was AJ Tracey. Ahead of his joint North America tour with fellow Londoner Dave, the West London MC played his classics like Pasta and Buster Cannon, before debuting his new track Quarterback – highly appropriate for the setting. I certainly appreciated the trackies and Air Max’s among a mélange of jeans and Jordan’s.
One of my favorite artists of the moment became one my favorite artists, full stop. With the undertone of a recent and painful passing of a cousin, there was a definite affection for Saba over and above appreciating his music. He stood on the stage’s edge, one foot on a speaker and rapping in such a way that only his head slightly moved whilst the rest of his body was still. There was no pretension to his performance whatsoever – I am sure he would have done it in the same way to 1 or 10,000 people.
What followed will surely be talked about for a while to come, by fans and health & safety monitors alike. Jazz Cartier started as you may expect, Jazz doing Jazz and mainly performing tracks from Hotel Paranoia. But things started to shift when he began half-hanging from the pipe above the stage – probably fine? He gets a tad aggie with a sound guy trying to avoid disaster, before proceeding to climb the ceiling pipes like he’s in a playground and they are monkey bars – more than anything this is damn impressive upper body strength. He obviously impresses himself because he maneuvers to very literally hanging all the way upside down from a pipe, on the ceiling. All the way upside his head. From the ceiling. Hence, Jazz Cartier almost brought the event’s namesake to life. Not surprisingly, Jazz’s set was cut a teeny bit short before Denzel Curry came on for super sweaty, super high energy closing set. He most definitely converted every single person in the venue into an instant fan – he is just so close to blowing all the way up.
We never miss a No Ceilings show. Below are the upcoming tour dates for this month - I can’t stress enough the importance of your attendance for both your musical enjoyment and education. All four artists on the bill are heading in one direction, so catch them before all your friends know about them (but also, tell all your friends about them). If you’re in NYC, we’ll see you there!
I know words paint a thousand pictures and all, but here are some more photos from Matt O so you can see what we’re going on about: