By Amy Powell
HOTTUB has just arrived in Austin, Texas for their first of three performances at the 26th annual South by Southwest festival. Despite a chaotic day of cross-country travel- 6am flight out of California, 2-hour drive from Houston, one empty tank of gas, and more in-town traffic than Austin locals have seen all year- the five-piece disco rap band from Oakland, California arrives at Beauty Bar fierce with energy.
Backed by beat-making producer, Jason “Jaysonik” Stinnett, and keyboardist, Mark “Funky Fingers” Gregory, HOTTUB packs a 3-part vocal punch powered by Nicole “Coco Machete” Feliciano, Amber “Ambr33zy” Royal, and Jennifer “LoliPop” Ackerman. Tonight, the hyper dynamic MCs are dolled out in lace, jean, leather, and leopard print fashion, with gold bracelets, exotic eye makeup, and “baller” necklaces that push “bling” kink to punk-pop party levels.
With “10 Numbers” in her pocket, Feliciano leverages her way up, onto a front speaker, while Royal and Ackerman thrust themselves into the crowd to join fans for Feliciano’s rap. Just three songs into their set- Beauty Bar is on “Man Bitch” fire. HOTTUB brings hard-hitting disco funk beats and shout-out “Oakland in Jungle” lyrics to Austin music fans- the house has no option but to get down with ghetto-pop enthusiasm- Bay Area-style.
How can one band manage a band-in-crowd, beer soaked, mic-in-mouth, motor boat girl sandwich (x2), fans-on-stage dance party into one 30-minute set? The answer, HOTTUB is not just a band. HOTTUB is fast and clever, hard-hitting and concise, like-minded and glam, full-boobied and fabulous. HOTTUB is a “game changer.”