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SXSW Review

South By Southwest festival in Austin, TX. I was there for two days. These are the bands I saw, and my opinions of each.

(In the order I saw them)
2A Place To Bury Strangers

This was a band that I went to see simply because I had heard of them and wanted to check them out...also, the show was free and I was broke. REALLY good show, loud wall of sound throughout the entire thing, and it made me interested in listening to their albums. They destroyed two guitars and a bass during the last song.
3Lotus Crush

I happened to just walk by the place where these guys were playing, and checked the poster hanging outside. This band features a couple of members from Candlebox, so I figured I'd see what was up. Not bad; singer has a really good voice.
4The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

All right show. Had to wait in line forever because they played under a fenced-off tent on a tiny stage, and it was one-out/one-in. Songs sounded pretty good, but they didn't move much. And isn't it some sort of unwritten rule that you're supposed to jump up and down at a pop-punk show? Cause that crowd was stoic as dried shit.
5Surfer Blood

I was (FIRST!) in line for the show after this one when I realized that inside the club was Surfer Blood, so I waltzed in and caught their last few songs. The crowd loved them and the band looked like they were having a good time, so I'm pissed that I missed the set because I was too fucking stupid to ask someone who was playing. But I also didn't want to give up my space in line...
6Trash Talk

The show I was waiting in line for was the only show that I paid to get into during the festival (and I would've waited all day for it). Two hours of waiting (I started the line, darting in for a minute to catch Surfer Blood) and $25 got me in to see Trash Talk, OFF!, Bad Brains(!!!!), The Black Lips, and Talib Kweli. This band...the lead singer jumped off stage with his corded mic aimed right at my throat. And some jackass flipped off stage right onto my nose...but a good show, nonetheless. Cool ass bunch of guys, actually.

The top three best live performances that I saw at SXSW were all at this show. This band was #3. If you don't know who OFF! is, it's the newest band of former Black Flag and Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris...and fuck, that 50-something-year-old dude can put on a show! I had never actually heard any of OFF!'s material, but I was into it as much as anyone there. EXCELLENT show.
8Bad Brains

Absolutely the best show that I saw at SXSW. These guys came out on stage looking like dudes I might see at church (especially the lead singer, who came out in a suit and took no more than 50 steps in that entire hour-long set). But their straight coolness blows you over like nothing else. They played an amazing set: "I and I Survive," "Banned In D.C.", "I Against I," "Attitude." The crowd was awesome, the energy was fantastic, the show was boss.
9The Black Lips

Their music was interesting, actually. They're an alternative/punk band with a Descendents-esque sound. I would've enjoyed it more if it wasn't for the stupid drunk guy next to me thrashing around like a stupid drunk guy...but the band was awesome, so yeah.
10Talib Kweli

This was the 2nd best show I saw in the two days...and it was also the first hip-hop concert I'd ever been to. Kweli not only played his stuff ("Get By," "Hot Chick," etc.), but also Black Star and even a bit of Mos Def's song "Umi Says." I kept thinking that Mos Def himself would pop out, but he didn't...however, we did get Jean Grae, which was awesome. An amazing show to end the night...I can't believe he was the headliner of a hardcore punk rock showcase, though.


Caught this guy in a little room upstairs for a show that Immortal Technique was supposed to play at. He was good enough for me to remember him, and I'd put him as the 5th best show that I saw at SXSW. His flows were amazing and he had some very interesting beats and samples (I particularly liked the sample of "Believe" by The Bravery). I'll probably check his album out later...good stuff.

He was supposed to go on after Immortal Technique...but I.T. never showed. He was pretty cool, though (that fucking beard...). I'd've stuck around if I weren't frustrated at I.T., though. Instead, I jetted to the Jackalope bar downstairs and ate lunch while watching a Nazi Germany softcore porn movie they were showing (I promise you, I'm not exaggerating).
14The Antlers

I checked these guys out PURELY on the hype that Sputnik gives 'Hospice'. They ended up playing new album front-to-back in its entirety (except, perhaps, for one song). Needless to say, I'm buying it when it comes out. On a side note, this was a weird concert for me because everyone was just standing there listening to the band; there was no pushing forward, there was no fighting for breath...there was was so strange....

After The Antlers, I high-tailed over to the Austin Music Hall for a free show featuring Trae the Truth, Yelawolf, Fishbone, Erykah Badu and the Wu-Tang Clan. A FREE show. FREEEEE. No wristband or badge or RSVP required if you got their before 8:00 p.m. I got there at six, and the line for that show was about the length of two-three city blocks (it went past the side of the music hall, over a creek and to a different part of downtown). But I got in; had some opening bands that were cool, the Trae the Truth came on. Wasn't my favored brand of rap...but I caught a bobblehead he tossed out into the crowd, so why not?

Yelawolf has a pretty damn good flow, actually. He's signed to Interscope, so we might see a bit more out of him later. Also, Bam Margera showed up randomly on stage.

Holy crap, this band was annoying! There music was good and all, but they kept stagediving into the crowd, and so everyone would push up against all of us at the front just to touch them. But yeah...the music was cool; really energetic and loud reggae/ska. Really, this point, everyone was ready for Wu-Tang.
18Wu-Tang Clan

This was the best show I saw outside of the Bad Brains/Talib Kweli one. There were quite a few sound problems (lots of feedback while folks were rapping), and like always, not all of Wu was there (Method Man, RZA and Rae were absent)...but we did get GZA, Ghostface, Inspectah Deck and everyone else, so I was satisfied. I wish they'd've played a bit more from their solo stuff, but oh, well. Good show.
19Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu came out during a Wu-Tang song, but she also played a DJ set as DJ Lo-Down Loretta Brown. It was pretty cool, but it was also at 2:00 a.m., so I jetted out before too long.


(Who played while I was there)
22Send the Sages

Send the Sages is band featuring the former singer of Alien Ant Farm. They played before Lotus Crush and I missed them...but I caught pictures of the band outside of the venue.
23The Strokes

They played a free show in the park across the lake from downtown at 8:00 p.m. during the Wu-Tang show. If I hadn't gotten into that show, I'd've gone to see them
24Janelle Monae

This was a wristband-or-badge-only event. It was SUPPOSED to be Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and Cee Lo Green, but Lupe and Cee Lo cancelled out, so instead, it was Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B. and Janelle Monae...which is about as even a trade as you could hope for, really. I heard from a friend who managed to get in that it was an amazing show.
25The Sounds

This was a free show if you RSVP'd with the PureVolume house (SXSW wristbands/badges weren't honored). You had to pick up your RSVP badge between 4:00 and 9:00 p.m....and I didn't get mine before this show, so I missed them.
26The Bravery

Another PureVolume RSVP show. I was going to see if I couldn't sneak my way in at 2:00 a.m. after Wu-Tang...but Wu-Tang finished so late that I decided to just head home.
27Flogging Molly

Missed them because they were playing at the same time as Bad Brains and Talib Kweli...but that would've been a fun show to catch, especially considering that the next day was St. Patrick's Day.

(Had to leave Austin on Friday morning, so I missed these. The one I'm most pissed about missing is first)
29Kanye West

With Common and Mos Def and everyone else on G.O.O.D. records. This was a free show if you happened to catch Kanye's tweet and RSVP in time...and if you didn't, you're not getting in. Common and Mos Def are two of my all-time favorite rappers, and I got into Kanye really after the whole Taylor Swift thing (and then, of course, he made 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'). Not to mention that Talib Kweli is in town, so I wouldn't be surprised if he made an appearance (can you imagine listening to Black Star's "Respiration" live with all three rappers there!?). I would pay big bucks to catch them together in concert; anyone who is going to this show should consider themselves lucky.

His self-titled debut is my favorite industrial record. Would've loved to jam out to "Switchback" live.
31Pharoahe Monch

Another one of my favorite rappers; has a new album coming out next week that I would've loved to hear live

An old favorite.
33Big Boi

It's fucking Big Boi. 'Nuff siad.
3410 Years

With Filter and Puddle of Mudd. It would've been nice to catch a straight rock show with bands whose songs I actually know :-P
35Bright Eyes

Oddly enough, I don't listen to Bright Eyes...but they put on a free show in the park where the Strokes played, so I would've gone.


(And to round out the list, sometime in the middle of SXSW, I bought a record player off my friend and hit up some of Austin's numerous record stores to finally begin my vinyl collection. Bought three awesome records, including the one record I told myself I would buy before all others)
38King Crimson

'In The Court of the Crimson King'
39Neutral Milk Hotel

'In The Aeroplane Over the Sea'
40Pink Floyd

'Wish You Were Here'
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