Random Acts: P.D.A. at Chuggin’ Monkey

By Niki D’Andrea

When walking down 6th Street at 4 p.m. on a Friday during SxSW, pedestrians hear all sorts of music spilling out of the clubs. Sometimes they peek inside, sometimes they stop for a brief moment, and oftentimes, they just keep walking. Today, there was a performer at the Chuggin’ Monkey that not only filled an empty club, but drew a crowd of dozens outside the window that continued to grow and stuck around for his whole set, staring through the windows while bobbing their heads and smiling.

The show – a day party for Oklahoma radio station iROK – wasn’t listed in the SxSW brochure, and the performer – an Oklahoma-based hip-hop mashup artist named P.D.A. – wasn’t someone I’d ever seen live before, though I’d heard his name and checked out the songs on his MySpace page in the past.

P.D.A. gets his groove on.

I had no idea what I was walking into when I wandered into the Chuggin’ Monkey halfway through P.D.A.’s set and pushed my way to the front of the stage. The 23-year-old was brimming with energy and attitude, bouncing and dancing around the stage like he owned the club.

And for 30 minutes, he did, spewing clever and insightful rhymes over incredibly infectious grooves, beats, and hooks. There was no way people could avoid dancing, or at the very least, tapping their feet. P.D.A. utilizes samples from a wide array of artists in some of his songs (including White Zombie, Madonna, and Diana Ross and the Supremes), and he also does all his own production, which sounds as clean as anything a big budget studio could churn out. He only had a drummer onstage with him, but what was coming out of the speakers sounded like a full band.

When P.D.A.’s set ended, he was approached by several people (myself included) who wanted to get a copy of his CD, Act II: A Different Victim. Someone in the club said the place had been empty before he started performing, but after his performance, I had to push through the crowd to get back out onto the sidewalk, which was still teeming with enthralled spectators.

Catching gigs like that is one of the best parts about SxSW, and proves that it’s still worth it to just wander into some random club to see whoever’s performing. You never know who or what you may find, and I would be very surprised if P.D.A. isn’t playing a more high-profile show at SxSW next year.

Check out the video below to see part of P.D.A.'s SxSW performance.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea