SXSW Wrap Up

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me and live music capital sign

I’ve missed a few days of blogging and my only excuse is that I was trying to see as many bands as possible at SXSW before returning to LA. Now I want to share some of the highlights. Here it goes:

Band That Exceeded My Expectations:

Surfer Blood (They were the talk of the festival and I chased them for days before finally catching a show.)

Also, The xx. Very sexy, cool music. And you can check that out here

Best Stage Banter:

Tie between Soko and Courtney Love. Both were explicit and very funny.

Band I Will Absolutely See Again When They Play in LA:

Baltimore’s J Roddy Walston and the Business

(newly signed by the manager for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)

Best Band for a Sunny Afternoon at an Outside Venue:

Washed Out
(It was only the 10th show from Georgia artist Ernest Greene. The members of Small Black joined him on a few songs)

Interesting Name Trend: The Double Double

Radio Radio
Hotel Hotel
Future FutureShadow
Shadow Shade

Most Interesting Covers:

Real Estate and Woods collaborating on Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” The audience sang every word. And there was crowdsurfing!

Runner Up: Gordon Voidwell singing Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”

Bands I’m Sad I Missed that Were on My Short List:

Codeine Velvet Club
The Drums
Toro y Moi
Memory Tapes
Neon Indian

Bands I Missed that Weren’t on My Short List but I Heard Good Things About:

Sunny Day in Glasgow
Titus Andronicus

Most Unexpected:

A comedy set by Tig Notaro. She told a story about Taylor Dayne that had me in tears. I was laughing so hard, my face was contorting and I had to hide it in my hands! I’ve never seen comedy at SXSW before and I’ll never miss it again.

Runner Up: a late night harmonica jam by Blues Traveler’s John Popper at a house party. The crowd went wild.

Favorite venue:

Parking lot across from Stubbs where Broken Bells played a pop up show. James Mercer told me the band really enjoyed it and you could tell.

Runner Up: IFC House.  They had a small stage where they were taping performances for broadcast. It was cozy, but that’s what made it fun.

Best Indie Rock Dance Moves:

Tim Derricourt from Dappled Cities.

LA Bands I’m Glad I Saw in Austin

Dios and Shadow Shadow Shade

Best Reminder of How Powerful Music Is:

Temper Trap playing “Sweet Disposition” at KCRW’s Cedar Street showcase. It was magical.

Best Pizza in Downtown Austin:

Hands down—Hoboken pizza on Red River. And I tried MANY before I came to that conclusion.

Best New Band By an Artist You Should Already Know:

Sonny and the Sunsets (featuring Kelley Stoltz). It took me a little while to warm up to their set but, once I did, I really enjoyed it.

A KCRW first:

Rogue Wave played a special acoustic set for our Saturday showcase and Chris Douridas broadcast some of the songs live on the air – a KCRW first! Check it out

If you want to read another take on the festival, check out this article from the New York Times’ Jon Pareles.