Ray Ray’s SXSW 2013 Recap

Ray Ray SxSW ThoughtsSo it’s been said already that the festival has wrapped up and we’re all trying to recover as best we can back at work Monday.  It was a fun and exhausting week full of incredible music, tons of booze, and many an old friend.  We’re each taking a look back at our week in free live music with some recaps and now it’s my turn.  Follow the jump for more.

Best Bands:

I’ve gotta agree with Nathan that Warm Soda we’re an early highlight for me and I wish I could have seen them for the second time.  Power/pop/punk doesn’t get much better than this in the live setting.

Criminal Hygiene would prove to be one of the more unknown bands that delivered in a major way this week.  I managed to catch their sets twice, and they wouldn’t allow crappy sound engineers on 6th street to ruin their good time.  Killer tune “Rearrange Me” has been confirmed as a front runner for my song of the year.

It was a rock n roll festival for me this year and Virals might have been the best rockin’ band I saw all week.  When you can take on playing a pop up shop at a burger joint, with little kids comprising the majority of your audience, you’ve got rock in your veins.  I wish more people would catch on to these guys.

Old friends Colourmusic pulled off what might be the best sounding set I’ve ever seen from them after being a fan for close to 7-8 years.  They’ve brought the dual drummer back, ditched the excessive backing PA, and sound tighter than ever.  New material from the band also sounded incredible and will hopefully break these guys into the popularity they deserve.

Runners-Up:

Some great bands that didn’t crack my top 4 for whatever reason: Pharoahs, Hands, Moon King, IO Echo, JBM, Young Galaxy, Dune Rats, Gems, Night Panther, Small Reactions, Jaill, The Loom, Nobunny.

Band Let Downs:

Idiot Glee didn’t do much for me at all.  I knew from the get go when I heard what was clearly a Garageband beat, I better walk away.

Widowspeak were so aloof during their set that they came across as uninterested in performing.

Bands I Should’ve Seen:

I’ve got a list of about 20 that I didn’t get around to seeing, but Shark Week, Papa, and Fidlar stand out.

Best Place to See Most Bands:

Red 7 is still the best overal venue to me for SXSW.  Great sound, great staff, incredible bands, and typically smaller crowds.

Best Staff/Venue:

Agree with Nathan on Mohawk/Red 7 for sure, but also want to mention the staff at Holy Mountain who kept their cool handing out free beer despite the dip shits at the venue.

Most Hated Trend:

I went over most of this before SXSW and many of my pet peeves in that post held true this year.  Agree with Nathan that  peeps chasing free stuff need to be punched in the face.  I witnessed too many self-important douchers who were disgusted when the bar didn’t have free booze or failed to tip when handed a free drink.  Get over yourself and get outta my town.  

Celeb Sighting:

Really none for me either this year.  Made a lot of new friends though and enjoy talking to interesting people way more than chasing celebs.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed another great year at SXSW and look forward to this week staring right now.  To those of you bands or fans who bitch and moan about how much you hate the festival, you can just geeeeetttt out.  I’m looking at you DIIV.  If you know what you’re doing and follow a few simple tips from us, you can make this one of the best weeks of your life.  Till next year.

4 comments

  • The thing I’d like to say about or to DIIV is this…if you’re so fucking pissed about playing a part in the corporate sphere, then don’t let your booking agent make you play the super corporate bills. Where were they at house parties where bands like Criminal Hygeine played? Sure…I hate corporate America too, but the bands do have a say where they play and what they do…and too often a lot of the bands just dial it in. If you’re going to complain about the man, take part in an action plan, don’t sit there and encourage it by playing those shows you claim to hate.

  • Yeah I completely agree. If you’re that against it, unplug your shit and get off the stage. We went to plenty of shows sponsored by record labels, local beer companies, or local websites at great venues with great sound. Fire your booking agent and stop bitching.

  • Jess and I got to see PAPA on Friday. They were pretty good. “Let’s Make You Pregnant” is a great song. Wild Belle (while maybe not your sound) was also really good.

    Also, if you get a chance to see Cosmic Suckerpunch, the lead singer is a nightmare. He was such a douche on stage that I want everyone to witness it. Shoulder Shimmies, “rapping”, synchronized hand motions, it was unbelievable.

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