At a house in downtown Austin Wednesday night (March 13), a family stood on the roof, dancing and toting red Solo cups. It was for good reason: they had just realized that across the street, J Balvin was giving a performance at Univision’s Uforia Latin showcase for SXSW.
Around 9:00 p.m., the reggaeton superstar bounded onstage in an all-black fit and neon yellow vest, his ever-changing buzzcut this time dyed platinum. And even on the event’s small outdoor stage, Balvin managed to bring the same “spectacle” of his Vibras Tour — including his trademark giant inflatable dinosaur, “V-Rex,” a vibrant team of dancers and bright stage visuals that brought to mind South Beach and his native Colombia.
The showcase, which also featured artists like Pedro Capo, Amenazzy and Lyanno, was part of two days of programming for Uforia, Univision’s Latin music media platform. At a press conference earlier in the day, Univision announced that it has partnered with Napster to make its Uforia app a branded streaming platform, offering users hundreds of playlists mined from Napster’s catalog of 40 million songs.
Losing his vest and sunglasses to let out some killer dance moves — including the floss — the singer swung through hits like “No Es Justo,” smash Cardi B collab “I Like It” (sans the rapper), “Reggaeton,” “Sensualidad” and “X.” Behind him, a half-male, half-female dance team gyrated in outfits only Balvin’s neon-colored mind could dream up: lime green turtleneck bodysuits for the girls and latex red overalls for the boys.
Of course, he had to end with reggaeton monster hit “Mi Gente” — but not before switching up the stage setup one last time. As the first notes of the Willy William-featuring jam blared out of the speakers, the dancers emerged in full skeleton bodysuits, while Balvin bounced and fist-pumped between them, turning the mini set into a bonafide rave. “It feels like a real concert,” he told the crowd, and they beamed their light-sticks back in agreement.