Danny Brown & Rico Nasty perform at Red Bull SoundClash in Chicago, IL
© Joe Gall / Red Bull Content Pool
Music

Our Favorite Moments from Red Bull SoundClash 2021

All the surprise songs, special guests, and epic moments - here's what you missed.
By Laura Studarus
3 min readUpdated on
After a 10-year hiatus, Red Bull SoundClash returned to the United States for a string of high-powered shows in Atlanta, Houston, Nashville, and Chicago.
The rules of the game are simple: to clash in the name of creating a one-of-a-kind musical experience and score ultimate bragging rights. Over the course of four rounds, each band or artist played covers, reimagined one of their competitor’s tracks, performed three of their own songs in a comfort-zone stretching new style (Folk? A capella? Electro pop? Why not?), and then finally pulled out all the stops in a wildcard finale. (Improvisation? Special guests? On-stage antics? Anything was fair game.)
Breaking from a traditional performance format means that anything can happen—and often does! Looking back here are some of our favorite moments from Red Bull SoundClash’s historic stateside return.
Westside Boogie performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Atlanta, GA
Westside Boogie performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Atlanta, GA

The Unexpected Cover Songs

In one of the fan favorite rounds, artists are asked to perform a cover song. Red Bull SoundClash musicians didn’t disappoint. From Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” performed by Bren Joy and Jake Wesley Rogers, to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” performed by Tank and The Bangas, and Korn’s “Freak on a Leash,” performed by Danny Brown the high-octane hits rolled in. Need proof? Check out Jake Wesley Rogers and Sheryl Crow perform her iconic anthem, “Strong Enough.”
Sheryl Crow & Jake Wesley Rogers perform for Red Bull SoundClash Nashville
Sheryl Crow & Jake Wesley Rogers perform for Red Bull SoundClash Nashville

The Song Takeovers

Imagine performing someone else’s song—while they’re in the same room. Daunting, but that’s what each SoundClash act did during the Takeover Round when they were asked to perform one of their competitor’s tracks. And while the winner of each round was determined by an audience vote—in the end, it was all about love.
“It’s just phenomenal,” Jake Wesley Rogers told Belmont Vision about the opportunity to perform one Bren Joy’s signature songs. “Especially the orchestration and the arrangements of them are really inspiring. They pushed me in new ways, and they’re stretching my voice.”

The All-Star Special Guests

Yung Baby Tate performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Atlanta, GA
Yung Baby Tate performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Atlanta, GA
Yes, the headline talent was spectacular. But audiences were regularly wowed by surprise guests. In Houston at the Bayou Music Center, it wasn’t just hosts Paull Wall and Big Freedia bringing star power—the stacked special guest line-up included Pell, The Vapor Caves, Trae the Truth, Lil KeKe, Johnny Dang, Jackie Venson, and The Soul Rebels. At The Eastern in Atlanta, during a night that celebrated the label Love Renaissance, Shelley FKA DRAM and Westside Boogie were joined by hip-hop heavyweights, 6lack and Baby Tate. During the faceoff at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, Bren Joy and Jake Wesley Rogers were flanked by an incredible parade of surprise talent featuring legendary Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, singer and actress Lennon Stella, queer icon Joy Oladokun and hip-hop artist Landon Sears. (Of course Music City would deliver.) But it wasn’t just musicians adding fuel to the SoundClash fire. At Radius Chicago, Danny Brown was joined by The Era Footwork Crew who made Brown’s performance all the more powerful by infusing it with Chicago’s historic dance style, while Rico Nasty was elevated to musical royalty by local hero, Queen Key.

Inspiring the Next Wave of Musicians

Tank and The Bangas and Big Freedia at Red Bull SoundClash in Houston, TX
Tank and The Bangas and Big Freedia at Red Bull SoundClash in Houston, TX
Behind the scenes there was plenty going on as well! Before sharing the stage in Nashville, Belmont University alumni Bren Joy and Jake Wesley Rogers joined up with fifty studentsto discuss their time on campus, signing to Warner Music Group, their song creation process and their shared affection for Nashville—all with the goal of inspiring the next wave of music industry professionals.
Red Bull SoundClash 2021 is officially in the books! Four action-packed shows delivered the ultimate musical clash by pushing artists to their creative limits. Stay tuned for more Red Bull SoundClash events coming to a city near you in 2022.
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