Despite technical di culties, Ivy Sole, Tut and Maps & Atlases electrified Conway’s Kings Live Music venue on Feb. 25 during Hendrix radio station KHDX’s fourth annual Hat Trick music festival.
North Carolina-born, Philadelphia-based hip-hop artist Ivy Sole and her DJ and producer Ethan Tomás commenced the night’s music with an intimate, brooding set distinguished by melodious vocals and nimble ows in the same vein as Noname and Rapsody. Sole immediately bonded with the audience, joking that she had been especially excited to visit Arkansas when she discovered that Little Rock’s Clinton International Airport was abbreviated “LIT” on her boarding pass.
Sole energetically launched into new material o of her February EP “East.” Although many were unfamiliar with her new music, the audience swayed in time to atmospheric, mesmerizing love songs like “deep” and “Life.”
“Malika,” a track from Sole’s 2016 album “Eden,” was undeniably the crowd’s favorite. Sole seized the audience’s attention, jumping across the small stage and fervidly shouting her lyrics to the song’s ethereal vocal sample and contagious beat. e track was such a crowd pleaser that Sole performed it as her encore.
After Sole’s performance, Chattanooga rapper Tut took the stage with nonchalant con dence. Tut tirelessly tore through the highlights of his 2015 debut album “Preacher’s Son.” His gospel-in uenced instrumentals and booming voice lled the small venue with explosive, uproarious sound.
Tut’s beat-heavy music and passionate aggression energized the crowd, but apparently not enough for Tut. At one point, he playfully asked the audience if they had ever heard of crowd sur ng. Moments later, an audience member obliged his request, bravely leaping into the frenzy of swinging arms.
Tut’s ceaseless ow could not be deterred, even when a speaker seemed to short circuit in the middle of a song. Although the music was signi cantly quieter, he didn’t miss a beat and nished the song without any further problems. Tut planned to perform new material for his encore, but because of the broken speaker, he instead freestyled an impressive verse a cappella.
Chicago indie rock band Maps & Atlases followed Tut after a sound technician xed the malfunctioning speaker. e seasoned group has been together for over 10 years, and this experience was evident in the group’s polished performance.
Frontman Dave Davison’s reedy voice was thin but distinctive, and his jangly guitar recalled the music of bands like Vampire Weekend and e Drums. Bassist Shiraz Dada playfully spun on stage as his ngers e ortlessly danced up and down the bass neck. Drummer Chris Hainey succinctly uni ed the band’s sound with balanced, re ned percussion.
Although Maps & Atlases’ latest studio album, “Beware And Be Grateful,” was released in 2012, the math rock trio still managed to captivate the audience with its set list.
The 2017 Hat Trick music festival brought quality underground artists to Conway for an unforgettable night of live music at an inexpensive cost — free for Hendrix students and $5 for the public. e Hat Trick music festival proves that exciting things can happen in your own backyard, even if your backyard is little, old Conway, Arkansas.
Photos by Sophia Ordaz