Though the doors to Idolator’s South By Southwest Pray For Pop party at the PureVolume House in Austin didn’t open until midnight last night, getting a good night’s sleep was the farthest thing from the minds of the stretched line of music fans waiting to get in. The eager crowd was first greeted by Robyn and Rihanna remixes being spun by irresistibly cute New York DJ duo The Jane Doze, who got the night warmed up ahead of the very first US performance by UK pop singer Cher Lloyd, and sets by Penguin Prison and Wallpaper.
The tiny but magnetic Cher stepped onto the stage at 1 a.m. wearing a striped vest, red short shorts and boots. The crowd ate up her sassy pop set, which included her UK Top 10 smash “With Ur Love” and the Neneh Cherry “Buffalo Stance”-sampling “Playa Boi”. It didn’t really matter that Lloyd was performing in America for the very first time, or that she has yet to release release an album here; as Adele, The Wanted and One Direction have proved, we Yanks have been primed for yet another full-on British invasion. Even Epic Records chairman/X Factor judge L.A. Reid was in the house watching Cher perform.
Here’s a fan-made video of Cher rocking her hit “Want U Back” at the show:
Next up was Penguin Prison (aka New Yorker Chris Glover, who we highlighted with a Popping Up feature in January). Chris hit the stage with his band at 1:55 a.m. and tore through electro-pop jams from his self-titled album like “A Funny Thing”, “Multi-Millionaire” and the addictive, synthy throwback “Don’t Fuck With My Money”.
Finally, at 3 a.m., rowdy and melodic Oakland, California outfit Wallpaper. burst onto the stage and spurred the Pray For Pop audience into an after-hours euphoria. Frontman Ricky Reed and the band (Arjun Singh and energetic vocalist/dancer/style inspiration Novena Carmel) ripped through crowd-pleasers like “Fucking Best Song Ever”, “2 Pair Of Shades” and “Shotgun”, and even debuted a new track that playfully borrowed from the “this shit is bananas” refrain in Gwen Stefani’s 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl”. And it was b-a-n-a-n-a-s until the very end, when Reed leapt off the stage to crowd surf before returning to the stage, saying farewell and advising the audience to use condoms. The Black Eyed Peas may be on hiatus, but after this showing, we think this crew could just be worthy replacements.
Once the party finally wound down, we headed back to our beds just a few hours before the sun came up, our heads still spinning from the dazzling array of performers at our second annual showcase. We hope y’all enjoyed it — and at least a lucky few of you who couldn’t attend in person will soon have personalized postcards to mark the occasion.
We owe huge heaping thanks to The Jane Doze, Cher Lloyd, Penguin Prison and Wallpaper., to our whole production crew, and all the pop faithful who came out to show love. Thank you.