First the good news: if you missed the explosive closing set from Chance the Rapper’s Social Experiment on day one of the Fader Fort presented by Converse you’re in luck. The Chicago upstart has announced his new band will headline a free SXSW show at the Austin Music Hall on Friday with special guests Kevin Gates, Kehlani, Raury and a mess of others. More information and RSVP here.
With the change in RSVP protocol and the switch from open bar to drink tickets (folks get two when they walk through the door), there was a lot more crowd movement than usual at the Fort this year and folks who showed up late in the afternoon were actually able to get in for the evening shows.
Chance was late to go on. His set was scheduled for 7:30, but didn’t start til 8:05 p.m., a good ten minutes after his four-piece band, the Social Experiment took the stage. When he finally appeared, pogo hopping across the stage, the capacity crowd went wild. He went on to deliver a furious set, with songs drawn from both his breakthrough mixtape “Acid Rap” and new material developed with the band.
The performance was as emotional as it was physical. “Sharing music, this is very special to me,” he said. He encouraged the audience to participate in the shared experience. “This is your show,” he said, coaxing the crowd to shout along “This is my show.” Then he led the house in a ballistic rendition of “Cocoa Butter Kisses” leaving most of the heavy lifting to the audience.
The band’s arrangements were interesting, occasionally sparse, but more frequently boisterous, jazzy blasts. Sometimes Chance’s raps were lost in the mix, but with most of the audience rapping along enthusiastically no one seems to care. 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for full band hip-hop, and while the Social Experiment doesn’t have the same groundbreaking quality as Kendrick Lamar’s new album, it feels like a great movement in an intriguing direction.