The hype is real, as anyone in Tierra Whack’s South by Southwest crowd Wednesday at Container Bar can attest to. The 23-year-old singer proved herself monstrously talented during a high-energy set in front of wall-to-wall adoring fans at Dr. Martens day party.
Whack, and her endearingly supportive DJ and hype man Zach, were all smiles as they charged through a number of hits from Whack’s acclaimed debut record, “Whack World.”
Amazingly, Whack told the crowd she was nervous and wasn’t even sure if people would show up for this show, evidently her first in Texas. In addition to being a fierce songwriter with killer flow, Whack came across as extremely vulnerable and caring. She paused the set several tracks in to ask the lighting engineer’s name; he was so astonished that at first he just said, “I’m the lighting guy,” until she insisted that she wanted to know his name (it was Bolo, if I heard right). Then she made the crowd thank him by name and gave a shoutout to all the engineers and techs who make live shows happen.
Later, she snatched up Zach’s cigarette and stomped it out — in sock-feet, having tossed her Doc Martens into the crowd — because she doesn’t want him smoking: “You know how I feel about cigarettes, Zach!”
The DJ looked out for Whack just as well, checking in on her hydration levels and laughing as she tossed bottles of water into the crowd: “You gotta stop throwing the waters and drink em, Whack!”
Rarely have I felt so drawn to smile during a live set — both because of the quality of the artist’s work and because of the playful atmosphere they fostered. Together, Whack and Zach are strong evidence that the weird and wonderful geniuses shall inherit the earth, if we’re lucky.
(Whack also can count Lizzo as a fan; the pop star was spotted watching the show from a balcony at Container Bar.)
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