×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lizzo Slays SXSW With One of Fest’s Buzziest Sets

The soul singer's Stubbs show recalled South Bys of yore when the buzz on Billie Eilish, Amy Winehouse or Alabama Shakes exploded.

Every year, thousands of artists descend into Austin for SXSW determined to turn in the type of performance that could turn them into stars overnight. It happens, occasionally: Over the years the buzzes around Billie Eilish, Amy Winehouse, Vampire Weekend and Alabama Shakes rose from low to deafening thanks to the kind of rocket-fuel performances SXSW has become renowned for. But it’s hard to remember a performance that approached the energy in the air when R&B/hip-hop/soul vocalist Lizzo performed Thursday night at Stubbs for the Ticketmaster showcase.

It wasn’t Lizzo’s first performance at the conference (she was at the same venue during the fest just a couple of years ago) but the timing seems to be right for her empowered, meticulously choreographed and endlessly fun show, which did much to build anticipation around her major-label debut, due on Atlantic later this year.

Lizzo’s got similar ingredients to many other artists often referred to by one name — Missy, Janet, Aretha — wrapped up (and, in this case, dressed in a rhinestone bikini) in her proudly plus-sized body. When Lizzo goes into motivational-speaker mode, which happened a few times over the course of the set, she’s deeply convincing as she speaks of depression and sadness and a world that often doesn’t view her as beautiful — just as convincing as she is when speaking of empowerment, pride and self-love.

That passion carries over to the songs. “‘Cuz I Love You,” the title song from her forthcoming album and the show’s opener, is a barnburner Motown ballad with an earworm hook; her flow on the hip-hop-leaning parts of her catalog (“Boys”) is similarly skillful, although it’s clear that the full range of her voice, an enormous, impassioned instrument, is yet to be revealed.

At one point, unprompted, the audience started chanting her name between songs (this just doesn’t happen at SXSW) and she was brought back for an equally rare encore. When she did re-emerge, her smile was infectious: she knew she had delivered something special.

Lizzo Slays SXSW With One of Fest's Buzziest Sets

More Music

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Greta Von Fleet - Jake KiszkaGreta

    Greta Van Fleet Put Spotlight on Solos at Asbury Park Tour Stop

    Michigan rockers Greta Van Fleet brought their “March of the Peaceful Army” tour to the Jersey Shore on Saturday night, performing at the legendary Asbury Park venue the Stone Pony’s Summer Stage. The band packed the outdoor venue on a moonlit, summer-seeming night in what staffers said was the series’ fastest-selling concert to date, with [...]

  • Madonna

    Madonna's Madame X Tour Adds New York, Chicago and L.A. Dates

    Madonna has added additional shows to her upcoming Madame X tour. Nine newly booked dates have been announced for New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The Queen of Pop adds five additional New York concerts at the Howard Gilman Opera House, which will take place between Oct. 2 to 7; two extra shows will take [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • ZZ Top, Caesars Entertainment Team on

    ZZ Top, Caesars Team for Jukebox Musical 'Sharp Dressed Man' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees ZZ Top and Caesars Entertainment are developing “Sharp Dressed Man,” a jukebox musical set to open next year in Las Vegas featuring the band’s greatest hits. Members Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard are all serving as executive producers. “Sharp Dressed Man” is described as an “outrageous, [...]

  • Dakota Johnson Tracee Ellis Ross

    Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross Co-Starring in Comedy 'Covers'

    Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross will co-star in “Covers,” a comedy set in the music scene in Hollywood. “Late Night” director Nisha Ganatra is helming from a screenplay by Flora Greeson. Focus Features is partnering with Working Title Films on the movie. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Alexandra Loewy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content