After the insatiable party that was Thursday, it would take more than just fireworks to blitz on by. Friday did the job, though. With the ruminating smells of BBQ now baked into everyone’s clothing and the eclectic mix of colorful wristbands, South by Southwest had officially taken over everyone’s lives. Not that anyone was really complaining; not when you could go back home and brag to your nephews and nieces about seeing Yo Gabba Gabba in person, or to your older uncle that OMD really killed it, or to your classmates that you almost got mugged at an Odd Future show – twice. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again…only in Austin.
Spin Magazine‘s SXSW 2011 Day Party – Stubb’s – 12:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
For an invite-only party, Spin Magazine‘s Friday day party at Stubb’s sure didn’t feel too exclusive. Its dirt floors layered with fans and industry types, the enviable lineup was in great company. Outside, the line never calmed down, either, keeping the venue at near over-capacity. But, it’s no surprise, especially when juggernauts like TV on the Radio, who performed on the very stage the night before, The Kills, or OMD topped off one hell of a packaged experience. Throw in another Smith Westerns appearance (possibly their 50th?), a raucous and loud set from Off!, and countless DJ sets, and, well, there’s really, really, really no room for complaints. We’ll let the photos bring you there this time, as our photographer Heather Kaplan captured the star-studded sets, which also featured surprise appearances by Moby and…Yo Gabba Gabba. Jealous yet?
Wye Oak – Mohawk - 2:00 p.m.
When she wasn’t at Fader Fort or Spin’s shindig, Heather Kaplan managed to catch some shots of Baltimore’s exceptional duo, Wye Oak, over at The A.V. Club’s fiesta at the Mohawk. Despite the summer-like festivities, the gig proved to be incredibly intimate and quite memorable. Do not miss them.
Das Racist – Scoot Inn – 2:30 p.m.
There was no doe-eyed looks of supplication with Das Racist, driven home by their frequent request that we all “turn around and go home.” The collective juked from dropping lol cultural references to subverting the entire idea of performing for a crowd – all over some pretty chill beats. Their show wasn’t punk nihilism but more of a collegiate cleverness and detachment –which by the end of it I felt like the butt of a joke I’m not quite sure I got. Either way, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rap group as self-aware and smart as these guys, which is always a breath of fresh air against the obsequiousness of other young bands at the festival. Also, they repped Don Imus and it somehow made sense. -Jeremy D. Larson
Odd Future – The Scoot Inn – 4:00 p.m.
With a mountain of hype and buzz surrounding them, Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats of Odd Future came to Austin with grand expectations and a cross-section of fans looking for the group to prove their status as nothing but over-hyped jokes. Within the first chords of their hit track “Sandwitches”, the duo proved beyond a shadow of a doubt their well-deserved place at SXSW (and the music biz as a whole). With the crowd whipped to the point of frenzy, the twosome took turns tearing up the mic and scaring the shit out of people, with their focus on everything from the cops to the photographers and bloggers in attendance. When they weren’t making death threats, they were climbing on amps and rooftops and jumping into the crowd. Not even a crowd bumrushing the stage and elbowing their way to the pair could deter any iota of attention from OF. If anything was clear after the performance (other than the remants of carnage), it was that Odd Future are truly validated after months of internet celebrity, but not that they fucking cared either way. As cliche as it may be at this point, there’s only one thing left to say: SWAG. -Chris Coplan
Fader Fort SXSW 2011 Day Party – 1101 E. 5th St. – 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Day parties are just the thing to do in Austin. Some folks flock to Austin, TX without any credentials or wristbands or badges and just take advantage of them. A few are now staples: Rachel Ray’s, Brooklyn Vegan’s, Pitchfork’s, and, naturally, Fader Fort’s. (Let’s hope Axis of Audio’s makes history today and becomes a staple, too.) Fader’s party always sports an intense lineup, filled with acts everyone puts on their “must see” lists. This year was no exception. Our photographer Heather Kaplan slipped in just as Friday’s main events – Odd Future and Matt & Kim – took to the stage, with the former dismantling it, and the latter patching it up. Needless to say, the two brought enough energy and jaw-dropping moments that the two to 17 hour wait outside to get wristbands was worth it. Party…literally.
Jaill – Red 7 Patio – 8:00 p.m.
It’s safe to say that if you’ve heard one garage-esque rock band, you’ve heard them all. That shouldn’t, however, stop you from seeing Jaill. The Milwaukee, WI band play a blend of garage rock and psych-pop with a life-hardened wit and sense of cynicism that is abundant throughout their lyrical output. Their playing is tight and efficient, their stage presence almost non-existent, and it’s hard to pin down something unbelievable about them, but as far as solid bands go, the group could make headway as something to watch down the road. -Chris Coplan
Shabazz Palaces – Red 7 Patio – 8:50 p.m.
Odd Future may be the premier frontrunner for everyone’s attention this year at least as far as hip-hop acts go, Shabazz Palaces is one act that deserves a solid chunk of your time. As far as acts go, they may be one of the more mysterious, without a MySpace or much info about the avant-rap group available. But once they hit the stage, though, it was all love. The end result of Digable Planet rhymes (of which frontman Palaceer Lazaro/Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler is one-third of) made dark and slightly gangsterized combining with the sounds of synths and congos and refuse from electronic music, the group lay down smooth, mainstream-friendly cuts that overflow with depth and wit and a ton of emotion, all while still maintaining a healthy distance of sorts. With help from the soulful and powerful Seattle duo THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces showed that rap can be weird and wonderful even if you’re not talking about pimple-covered dicks. -Chris Coplan
Chromeo – La Zona Rosa – 12:00 a.m.
Chromeo-ohhhhh-oh! Behold the chant that was repeated throughout the set of the Montreal dance-rock duo during their show at La Zona Rosa. Kicking things off with “Don’t Turn The Lights On”, Dave 1 and P-Thugg didn’t have a bevy of long-legged backup singers for this performance. But they still made the crowd move to their every command, from putting hands in the air and clapping to jumping throughout entire songs. Some stand out tracks of the evening included a guitar heavy remix of “Momma’s Boy”, the instant dance classic “Fancy Footwork”, and, of course, “Tenderoni”. Also, having been to La Zona Rosa earlier in the week for Queens of the Stone Age, Chromeo should be proud knowing they brought in way more people than Josh Homme’s band of rock and roll rebels. Dancing, vocoders, heavy 80’s influenced beats, and easy-to-sing lyrics, a Chromeo show is not one to be missed at anytime. -Sami Jarroush
Okkervil River – Antones – 1:00 a.m.
Okkervil River seem to have a storied relationship with Austin. Has everyone in Austin seen these guys like a hundred times? Are they like the fun uncle that’s adored by the relatives but whose wife and kids are really bored by his antics? Either way, a dissonant crowd dynamic and some tech issues bruised what otherwise would have been a routinely powerful performance. Three new songs were played off their upcoming album, I Am Very Far, each one furthering the verbose and poetic lyrical structures singer Will Sheff is known for. New song “Writer” (Rider?) had a retro vibe that sounded not unlike The Doors’ “Touch Me”, and connected the band’s various new members well, rather than it being Will Sheff and the Okkervil Rivers.
But when the spotlight was on Sheff, there were no qualms. He exorcized some demons with the powerful acoustic number “Stone”, and screamed to the rafters in their crowd favorite “For Real”. It might have been that Sheff had one too many whiskeys, or just general SXSW exhaustion, but dude looked like wrecked at the end of their closing sing-a-long “Lost Coastlines”. But I would wager that it’s most likely that, even after playing Austin for the umpteeth time, Okkervil River still aims to leave nothing left on the stage after a show. -Jeremy D. Larson