Watch twenty | one | pilots KILL their performance of "Holding On To You" at the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards.
Rap-rock-everything duo twenty | one | pilots might seem like self-deprecating, totally humble dudes in interviews (when they're not giving Justin Bieber sartorial advice, that is), but the 2013 MTV Artists to Watch and Musical March Madness entrants' light, jokey manner does not even begin to prepare you for their live performances, which are packed with Eminem-esque speed-talking rhymes, Matt and Kim-worthy piano ballads, and endless "I-just-chugged-ten-cans-of-Red Bull" energy. That said, the Columbus duo are the IDEAL choice to open the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards -- because if the crowd wasn't worked up already, they probably blew a cheering gasket after watching Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun take over (and backflip off of) the Woodies stage with their performance of "Holding On To You," off of their latest record, Vessel.
Watch twenty | one | pilots perform "Holding On To You" at the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards after the jump.
Infusing their set with onstage acrobatics, whip-smart rhymes, and their hyper-friendly stage presence, twenty | one | pilots greeted the audience with Tyler monkey bar-hanging off the stage's lighting fixtures before climbing down to bang out the opening chords of "Holding On To You" on the piano. Sing-screaming the lyrics, Tyler and Josh split their time on "Holding On To You" between turning multiple shades of red on the mic (Tyler's got some intimidating pipes, just sayin'), simultaneously jumping and backflipping off the piano, and leading the crowd in a rousing chorus of song-finishing fist-pumps. Uh, yeah, we know it was only the first set and all, but we think it's time to consider the show stolen.
Check out more 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards performances by Zedd, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Tegan and Sara, watch backstage interviews, click through performance photos, and get the complete list of Woodie Awards winners.
Photo credit: John Shearer