SXSW: Givers kick off Wednesday with engaging, energetic set at Paste party

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Just as breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the first set you catch at South by Southwest can set the tone for everything that follows.

It was a great start, then, for the crowd that kicked off this year’s festival with Givers.

Playing at the Galaxy Room Backyard as part of a Paste magazine day party, the Lafayette, La., band made its SXSW debut, throwing down an ebullient, highly energetic set of songs with traces of folk and Afrobeat, and a ton of rock ‘n’ roll heart.

The quintet, which toured last year with Dirty Projectors, packed guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, ukulele and sunny male-female vocals into layered, polyrhythmic songs with pulsing beats.

Both singer/percussionist/ukulele player Teddy Lamson (top) and singer/guitarist Taylor Guarisco have a habit of sticking out their tongues while playing, which added a slightly goofy, completely endearing element to their set.

Listen here to their song “Ceiling of Plankton.”

— Text and photos by Eric R. Danton