Common, Robert Glasper And Karriem Riggins Are August Greene & They Brought The Old-School Hip-Hop Vibes To SXSW THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: AUGUST GREENE @ STUBB'S | SXSW 3/14/18
AUSTIN, TX- For most of our SXSW artist coverage, we’ll keep it relatively short and sweet. We have over 80 artists to cover, so cut us some slack! 😉 We’ll basically be formatting each post into two parts: (1) Why our contributor wanted to see this act and (2) what our contributor thought of the performance”. Easy peasy. If you want to learn more about the act, make sure you click through to their social media links to get in the know. You won’t be disappointed!
Why I Wanted To See August Greene: My SXSW schedule was based around a half dozen or so headlining artists who I desperately wanted to see. Day 3 was circled on my calendar for a long time, as Common, one of my favorite rappers was set to be the final act of a 6 artist NPR showcase at Stubb’s Austin. He was there as part of a new group he founded with Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins called August Greene, so I knew I’d get to see some new dope music along with some Common classics (at least I hoped I would). I haven’t been listening to hip/rap for too long but Common was one of the first legendary rappers I really got into and I’ve wanted to see him live ever since.
What I Thought Of August Greene’s Performance: After a very long day and six hours of battling in the photo pit and standing around, Common along with the rest of August Greene came out around 1 AM, immediately making me forget how tired I was. Being a veteran performer of almost 20 years, he commanded the stage like a true pro. Working both sides and coming to the front row of the crowd on several occasions, he fed off the audience as much as the audience vibed with him. There was even a point when he went into the middle of the crowd to do a verse and at that moment I thought of how something like this can only happen at SXSW. You have these small venues hosts acts who normally sell out arenas and that allows for so much more intimacy and appreciation for the music itself. There’s not much special effects and lighting for these showcases, so all you have to do is focus on the artists and the music.
And the music for this show was hella good. Common performed two of his most famous hits, “The People” and “The Light” (which ended the show), and the rest was new music from the self-titled August Greene album. The songs were mellow but deep, speaking about politics and the state of the current world. Robert Glasper was a demon on keyboard, while Karriem Riggins manned the drums. The feel of their songs strongly reminded me of Common’s older albums that had toned down consistent drum patterns and worked in perfect tandem with Common’s low smooth-as-silk voice. His flow during the performance, as it has been for his entire career was flawless. It was an absolute dream come true to see one of my favorite artists live and in such an intimate setting. August Greene is a must see when they come through to your city. You don’t get many opportunities to catch a living legend.