SXSW Superlatives: RayRay

Young BuffaloIt’s always a struggle to get back to work after over a week of play time.  Reminiscing helps ease the sleepy eyes and doldrums so lets have another look back at the awesome week of music that was.  Nathan kicked us off yesterday with some fine observations and I’ll continue the opinions today about the SXSW music week.  Follow the jump for my awards.

The Hats Off Award: The City of Austin

I feel like the city really pulled through after the tragedy from last year.  I know a lot of folks complained that not every venue really felt at capacity when the door guy was telling us it was full, but let’s remember that they are all just trying to keep us safe.  Venues killed with kindness, police came out in numbers but stayed in the shadows, and it seemed like everything ran a little smoother than last year.

Best Party: The Onion & AV Club Manic Monday

As Nathan already said, this party had a killer lineup that really wasn’t matched for me the rest of the week.  Throw in some noms from TGIFridays and everyone stayed happy for the duration of the party.  This one also sort of felt like a locals only event with tons of friends around just trying to kick off the week.

Local Band I Loved: Hundred Visions

Loud, funny, good performance…. what else can you ask for really?  Well done boys.

Living Up to My Hype: Water Liars, Hamilton Leitheuser, & Young Buffalo

Water Liars put on an emotional performance sounding like a huge band while having only 3 members.  Hamilton solidified himself as one of the great performers of our time after no one seemed to believe me when I said that his new solo material was quite impressive.  Young Buffalo had tons of energy and sweet, harmonic vocals to compliment their poppy sound.  Told you so.

Sorry, I Don’t Get It: No Parents & Speedy Ortiz

Sorry to pile on Speedy Ortiz… I think it may have been the Spotify House to blame for your shaky set.  Despite having their name on tons of bills around town, No Parents reminded me of Limp Bizkit meets Fall Out Boy.   No one should ever close their set with a Lenny Kravitz cover song.

My Personal Discovery: Honduras

Apparently I was supposed to know more about this band before the festival, but I did not.  They killed on the inside stage at Side Bar with energy, loud guitars, and catchy, pop inspired punk music.

Best Performers: The Vaccines & Twilight Sad

Yep, the veterans usually perform above and beyond the young up and comers.  The Vaccines blasted through their set while front man Justin Hayward-Young thrilled the crowd with tons of enthusiasm and positive vibes.  Twilight Sad of course performed out of their minds though the afternoon sun “doesn’t mix well with Scottish boys”. Photoguy notes: I followed the gents from Scotland for a day. More to come…

Ok. I Get it Already: Twin Peaks

Every bill.  These guys were on every bill.  I saw one of their sets on Saturday and one could tell that they were exhausted.  Pace yourself guys.

Dear Lord. Never. Again: Rainey Street

Let me get one thing straight here, Rainey Street is a fine place to go if you’re looking to have a drink or two on a Saturday night.  It’s not really my scene exactly, but I could at least see why someone would venture over there for fancy cocktails and mixologists…. sort of anyway.  My issue is that these “venues” are just not built to withstand the chaos and intensity of SXSW.  This is the second time in two years I made the trek over to Rainy for a show and the show was shut down for some reason or another.  This year it was lack of preparation for the rain, last year it was some weird coding issue the operators forgot about.  Maybe it’s just lightning hitting twice, but I’ll be staying away next year.

Some other bands that impressed:

Torres, Jack Ladder, Mew, The Shivas, Ex-Cult

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