SXSW 2015: BØRNS, Ryn Weaver, Gorgon City, and ODESZA at the Spotify House, 3/17/15

photos by Chad Elder | words by Cassie Purtlebaugh | Thursday, March 19th, 2015

By noon on Tuesday, March 17th, the line into the Spotify House was already long and the venue at capacity. Inside, the set of Los Angeles’s Garrett Borns and his band (aka BØRNS) was in full swing with an energetic crowd in tow. He was cloaked in ’70s fashion and bared his sunburnt chest as his high-ranged angelic voice drenched the audience with an aura of classic cool. By the time there was a pause in the blend of electro beats and live instrumentation, it was only to grace the crowd with his solo rendition of “Happy Birthday” for an audience member. BØRNS closed the set with “Electric Love” while a piñata bopped around above the crowd.

Afterward, music blared from a second makeshift stage and half the venue scrambled to change locations. Despite sound issues and an improper stage, the quirky persona of Ryn Weaver, dressed in thrift store attire, still transferred through her electropop music. Despite the awkward placement, she was completely encircled by the crowd and everyone in the front row sang along word for word.

Next up, London-based DJ duo Gorgon City took the stage to a cheering crowd, who were immediately treated to chest-rattling bass. To break the usual sweeps, swells, and drops, the duo brought in a live drummer, as well as vocalists Josh Berry and Lulu. As the drummer drove the set and the vocalists danced and encouraged the crowd to do the same, the DJs displayed finesse in the art of controllerism.

Gorgon City was the perfect segue to the headlining DJ duo ODESZA, from Seattle. When ODESZA stepped on stage, they were greeted with even greater fervor. Unlike the previous act, these two were front and center with their laptops, controllers, and Roland drum pads. After wave of sounds, they charmingly admitted to being nervous as hell since this was their first time playing SXSW. Well, boys, you’re a hot commodity this week, so you’ll be veterans in no time.

Chad Elder is a Los Angeles-based photographer who focuses on live music and band portraits. Cassie Purtlebaugh is a writer and musician in Los Angeles.

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