SXSW: The Roots play for Mog


Bruce Springsteen wasn't the only one to put on an enlighteningly educational musical clinic in Texas this week about the history of American popular music. There was also The Roots, who headlined at the Mog party at Mohawk on Saturday afternoon, with lines stetching down the block to get in.

(What's an Mog, you might wonder? It's a streaming music service, competing for market share against Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody, among others, and booking acts like The Roots, Blitzen Trapper, Bob Mould and blistering blues guitarist Gary Cark Jr. to pump up the brand.)

Along with speaking to the issue of what defines Philadelpha-ness - "It doesn't matter where you came from," Black Thought said, "once you've been associated with the Legendary Roots crew, you from Philly" - The Roots demonstrated their impossibly broad musical reach with the showcase "You Got Me" medley. Guitarist and singer Capt. Kirk Douglas strutted his stuff as the band quoted OutKast, Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder, Bo Diddley and Led Zeppelin.

It was instructional and highly entertaining, kind of "like W.E.B. Dubois meets Heavy D and the Boyz," as Black Thought put it on "Get Busy." Other highlights included sousaphonist Damon Bryson taking his horn off stage and into the Mohawk balcony, and special guest DJ Jazzy Jeff joining ?uestlove and percussionist Frank Knuckles for a drum-off of sorts. ?uestlove, the hardest drumming man in show business, naturally followed the Mog show with a DJ gig late Saturday night.

Previously: Anais Mitchell at SXSW Follow In The Mix on Twitter