Another Great Taco- and Tune-Filled SXSW: A Long Weekend Photo Essay

[24 March 2011]

By Michael Ritchie

1. South by Southwest started like all southern, 80 degree weekends should… on a Wednesday. But arriving into Austin that morning, it seemed as if the clouds were holding strong. Though I didn’t really care since my first stop of was going to be under a tent. My friend, and futon provider for the weekend, was working at the Fader Fort, so I started there where DOM kicked it off to the early crowd.

 

2. Still no sun, so I’m staying for the free top-shelf bar and Friendly Fires. These guys were everywhere this weekend and, I bet, grabbed a lot of fans in the process. They woke up the Fader crowd with this set.

 

3. Post-pork tacos, I left the east side for Sixth Street and The Parish. Night showcases mean no more free drinks, which in turn, means Lone Star. It also meant The Antlers and The Dodos.

 

4. The Dodos blasted through a 40min set to close the night. While I dig the new album from these guys, the interactive nerds don’t and made for the door.

 

5. Here comes the blazing sun on Thursday. More tacos, a green shirt on for the holiday, but sticking to Lone Star instead of Guinness. At Cedar Street Courtyard to catch the Vaccines set and by set, I mean 17 minutes.

 

6. Sunburnt by 4:00, but I know of free drinks ahead. The Kids of 88 are on the top of a parking garage and put on a good set.

 

7. People cheering, most of them wasted, so it’s totally cool.

 

8. Smiley Matt & Kim pounding concrete for their day ending set. That really isn’t a joke since they had that whole structure bouncing! Pretty crazy and scaring a few dude’s girlfriends for sure. I even pictured the thing crashing down… but I still had a drink ticket left.

 

9. Sun down again and at Club de Ville for the first time. Raging set by Divalla 666 from Puerto Rico. I think at one point the lead singer said give us your drugs… the band deserved them, they were good.

 

10. Up the street to Stubbs to catch the more tolerable side of Wasilla, Alaska, Portugal, The Man.

 

11. TV on the Radio killing it. New stuff sounded great. Old stuff sounded great. Love it.

 

12. Day 3 at Emos. Pretty much a complete sweat box in there, but in my mind the best line up of the weekend. And we drank Imperial… I guess in honor of being closer to Costa Rica…? Throughly impressed by these kids from Louisiana, Givers.

 

13. Saturday already? Yes, I needed a break. The big shin-dig this final day was at the East Side Drive-in and the Mess with Texas Party. Esben and the Witch, noise rocking it in the afternoon.

 

14. A quick pop back over to the Fader Fort to catch a set by James Blake. The lead singer of Trash Talk said, during their set following Blake, “That shit was dope”. Guess the hype is right.

 

15. Back to MWTX for a solo set from Ted Leo.

 

16. Fresh and Only’s rocking a hot and dusty tent. It was alright… they gave out some free vinyl.

 

17. Nighttime took me to the future sight of the Riot from Above 1979, Beauty Bar. Asheville, NC’s Two Fresh kept it chill early on.

 

18. One last jump to the Fader Fort for what I hoped would be a Kanye set, but instead we got Puffy. He did what he does best… hand the mic to someone else.

 

19. I decided to go to church. Cool venue, good band (Typhoon) but I still don’t get or like the whole sit-down vibe at a show. Makes it very hard to “accidentally” bump into the cute hipster chick next to you because you are “drunk” when everybody are in pews surrounded by bibles.

 

20. Braids at Club de Ville. Currently the number one ranked band in the “politest sound check” polls.

 

21. Ending the night and ending South By at the Lustre Pearl with a Deervana set.

 

22. They killed it.

 

23. Another great South By weekend. Thanks to my friends Austin and Sarah for letting me crash. Nice to see you all the random people I met who populate the city for that weekend. And thanks for the tacos, the drinks and the music… delicious.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/138622-sxsw-music-festival-recap/