MSTRKRFT (DJ set) @ Vice
When was the last time you saw people crowd-surfing at a dance club? Unless you caught MSTRKRFT’s DJ set at Vice on Saturday night, the answer is probably “never”. Still, it’s not too surprising that the Toronto duo would have that sort of affect on a crowd, especially given the fact that Jesse F. Keeler was once one half of Death From Above 1979. While the duo’s late night DJ set definitely got the crowd moving, it left a bit to be desired in the originality department. Must every electro set nowadays be built around Daft Punk and Justice samples?
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Best Friends Forever @ Mohawk (Inside)
Best Friends Forever are from Minneapolis. Best Friends Forever are two girls and one boy. Best Friends Forever play pop songs about Presidents and love and other cute things. Best Friends Forever sometimes have puppets onstage during their sets. Best Friends Forever play instruments like keyboards and glockenspiels and even the recorder, which I used to play in the 3rd grade. Best Friends Forever are my new favorite band.
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Woods @ Mohawk (Inside)
If you happen to loathe trends, folk-based psych-pop is probably close to the top of your list of dislikes. Luckily, Brooklyn’s Woods have a novel enough approach to the sub-genre to keep things interesting. Using all sorts of analog trickery, the band crafts a thick haze of echoing voices, ringing guitar notes and wispy atmospherics. One member of the band devoted all of his attention to a tape deck plugged into a series of effects pedals; meanwhile, the drummer spent more time banging on guitars with his drumsticks than drums. And tying it all together were the condenser mic-filtered vocals, echoing in the distance like an old AM radio.
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Vivian Girls @ Mohawk (Inside)
On Saturday night, a South by Southwest reveler could have been seeing GZA split a bill with Okkervil River. Or, he or she could have been seeing a solo set from Kevin Shields at a small venue. There was even an outdoor party where NOFX and the Breeders co-headlined on dueling stages. But as far as I’m concerned, the true spirit of South by Southwest was hidden away in a back room at Mohawk, where a lineup of DIY bands played for a handful of enthusiastic fans and sold 7"s for gas money. Here we see Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls, who played a set of Sarah-esque, sing-along friendly twee-pop.
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Simian Mobile Disco (DJ set)/Matt and Kim/Diplo @ 421 W 3rd Street
We’ve got to hand it to the folks at IHEARTCOMIX: there’s no better place for a party than the rooftop of a downtown parking garage. Spinning a full-length set of electro without sounding—well, exactly like Daft Punk—isn’t as easy as it once was, it seems but Simian Mobile Disco managed to pull it off and get the party started on the right foot. Brooklyn dance-punks Matt and Kim, meanwhile, kept the crowd dancing and smiling to boot. Closing up shop, Diplo featured a number of high-profile guest stars like Spank Rock and Kid Sister but it was quite clear from the response that Diplo himself was the man of the hour.
Fucked Up @ Lamar Street Bridge
At 2am on Friday night, Fucked Up and No Age played an impromptu set on the top of the Lamar Street pedestrian bridge. Word travels fast during South by Southwest, however and more kids showed up for the show than the bridge was likely designed to support (some even claimed that the bridge could be seen swaying under the strain). Regardless, police at the end of the bridge stood idly by and let Toronto hardcore act Fucked Up rile up the crowd with a blistering set of truncated jams.
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No Age @ Emo’s
For a duo, No Age sure do make a lot of noise. During their early evening set at Emo’s, the L.A. duo ran through a number of short, catchy, Ramones-inspired tunes that set heads bobbing and feet tapping throughout the venue. And up in the front, a few kids even formed a small mosh pit—an odd sight at what’s usually a crossed-arms sort of festival.
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Exit Clov @ Lovejoy’s
It’s not every day that you see a post-punk band with violins but then again, it’s not every day that you see a band fronted by identical twins, either. Led by sisters Emily and Susan Hsu, the Washington D.C. five-piece managed to quiet a chatty room at Lovejoy’s with their blend of post-punk propulsion, classical instrumentation and syrupy-sweet call-and-answer vocals.
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Le Loup @ Emo’s Annex
It wasn’t an easy mid-afternoon set for Washington, D.C. newcomers Le Loup—a delay pedal went missing, a banjo pickup emitted an annoying buzz and their set was ultimately cut short—but despite those odds, the band turned in a rollicking, impassioned set of folk-based indie pop. The band opened up their set with a few new tunes, most of which were quite a bit more guitar heavy than their previous work. Though Le Loup was originally conceived of as a vehicle for Sam Simkoff’s songs, it’s clear that the band is really starting to gel after spending a few months together on the road.
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Clipse @ The Mowhawk
A good half hour before Clipse hit the stage at the Mowhawk to close out the Rhapsody party, the air in the outside venue filled with the scent of a certain recreational herb. “It smellin’ good out here!” Sandman would later declare upon hitting the stage. The fact of the matter is that anticipation was high for the Virginia Beach duo and they certainly didn’t disappoint, delivering both Clipse and Re-Up Gang tracks with the ferocity and focus that their fans have come to expect. Sure, they might have just been yelling over backing vocal tracks most of the time but you wouldn’t know it from the way the kids were dancing in the front row. About a third of the way through the set, Pusha-T and Malice were joined on stage by Sandman and Ab-Liva—thereby forming the Re-Up Gang—and proceeded to play tracks from the band’s much-loved We Got It For Cheap mixtape series. At the end of the set, Pusha-T and Malice jumped off the stage with nary a word to the crowd—it was quite clear that there was nothing more to be said.
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