Lil Wayne Makes Surprise Performance at mtvU Woodie Awards
For the third time in a row, MTV traded a major metropolis for the comparable insanity of South By Southwest, the massive festival that overtakes Austin, TX, for a week in March. Expanded from a single show into what is in effect a festival-within-a-festival, the awards show included performances from Childish Gambino, Iggy Azalea, and the 1975, and was preceded by a daytime lineup featuring Disclosure collaborators Sam Smith and London Grammar, as well as Vic Mensa, Bleachers, American Authors, and Wild Cub.
Though the show that aired Sunday night (March 16) was pre-recorded, the sound was impeccable live. In line with the show's tagline: "music college students love", the crowd skewed towards the target demo were too young to drink, but old enough to reject some of the more mainstream pop acts in favor of something a little-and only a little-less ubiquitous. They spent the night washing down peanut butter cups with soda from sponsors Reese's and Pepsi, genuinely pumped to be in a converted gravel lot in downtown Austin.
The show kicked off with a surprise performance from hip-hop impresario Lil Wayne, who stormed the stage to the opening notes of his classic 2008 track "A Milli," instantaneously flipping the switch on the crowd from mild-mannered to wild. After just a few lines from the first verse, a little banter, and some a cappella rhymes, he bounced off the stage, yelling "Welcome to the 2014 awards!" as if he wasn't quite sure just which event he was attending.
Wayne was followed by a performance from Manchester, UK's The 1975, who took home the night's first award, the "Breaking Woodie." Wearing all black, with boy-band good looks (including a goofy older-brother-looking bassist) and elaborate haircuts, their super-sweet brand of bubblegum pop had won over any non-believers by the end of their set. Their self-aware cheekiness was charming, informing the crowd they would like them to "keep it turnt up" and that "this song is called one thing but it's about something completely different. It's very clever." When they accepted their award, frontman Matt Healy proclaimed, "We don't endorse the idea of music as a competition," before admitting, "but if you're going to give us an award, then give it here." More including photos.
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