Bartees Strange played six sets during SXSW 2023, with a final set on Thursday, March 16. He spent the festival, dedicated to music and tech at multiple venues including Austin Motel, Empire and The Parish. He kicked off the final set at Austin’s Cheer Up Charlies with his hit ‘Boomer’, right after telling the crowd that much of his gear was missing.
Despite that fact, and a solid run of shows in Texas for the festival, Strange was excited to perform his hits to the crowd. “Living on the east coast is cool but I miss it here,” the Oklahoma native told the Texas audience.
Before performing his hit track, ‘Mustang’, Strange dug into his past and what it was like to grow up in the southwest. “This song is about being the only Black person in my county,” Strange said. “There was my family, then there was everybody else.”
He also spoke about his upbringing before his track, ‘Hennessey’, discussing how he used to bring a “Hennessey bag to school” with all of his belongings in it. Digging into the sultry track, he explained, “now that I’m grown, I have more respect for Hennessey”.
Meanwhile, Bartees Strange recently dropped an exclusive single on Amazon Music, putting his blues-imbued folk spin on Freddie Gibbs’ ScHoolboy Q-assisted single ‘Gang Signs’. For his new take on the song, the Ipswich, England-born, Oklahoma-raised indie-rocker locks into the feel of the original track’s gentle, groove-driven instrumental. He re-appropriates the melody with crisp and roomy electric guitars, noodling away while he emulates Gibbs’ biting swagger with his rapped verses.
In a Tweet shared upon the track’s release, Strange said he “loved covering this song by two of the hardest”.