50 Important SXSW Questions

Categories: SXSW

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Marco Torres
Will I die getting the best Facebook photo, like, ever you guys?

By: Nick Lucchesi

Editor: We have so many questions here in Austin. Here are 50 of them.

1. Will I like the pedicab costumed as The Hulk if he gets angry?

2. Are we all really just in New York?

3. Is this t-shirt rad?

4. Do you want to get some 'za, which is now absolutely the slang for pizza?

5. How far can you sprint while drunk?

6. How comfortable is riding a bike in nothing but a g-string when you're over 66-years-old?

7. If I pee in the crowd while cheering, will anyone notice?

8. Is this the line for the line?

9. Will my badge get me in to get a badge?

10. Was that Daryl Hannah at CVS?

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The 50 Commandments of SXSW

Categories: SXSW
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For Christ's sake, don't break any of these commandments this year.
By: DC9 At Night

You're going to South by Southwest, right? Or you're already there? One of those things is bound to be true. Well, we here at DC9 have got some advice for you, and we've managed to format it all into the style of commandments, because one of our favorite things to do is pretend we're angry Gods. Or something like that. We're not really sure, but the doctor told us it was best to just go with it.

So, here they are, the 50 Commandments of SXSW 2013.

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OC Creator of Vela App Preps For a Coming Out Party at SXSW

Categories: SXSW
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via Facebook
Vela App
On a warm, sunny day in Aliso Viejo, things are looking just the way Justin Mason had always envisioned. The soft-spoken, former Air Force Intelligence Officer has never been one to be told what he can and can't accomplish. After the opportunity to pitch his invention to a panel of investors on an attempt to win on an unaired episode of the ABC reality show "Shark Tank," Mason did what he always has done ­- put his head down and persevered even when a chorus of others told him to stop.

Now, his sincerity and unending drive to perfect Vela, a voice controlled music app that controls the likes of Spotify and Rdio, has him on the cusp of a very large coming out party in Austin, Texas.


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The Worst Moments from SXSW 2012

Categories: SXSW

You were a little flat at the end of your performance of "Happy Birthday" there, Wolf Violinist
The last few days, Village Voice Media's indefatigable music staff has been regaling you with stories of the best from SXSW 2012. In the midst of these discoveries, we've been culling another list: the worst shit. The acts that ranged from huge bore-fests to downright lame. Below, you'll find our critics' submissions. Let us know if you have similar experiences.

Yawn at Bar 96
Standing up for indie rock in 2012 is like pledging allegiance to Joseph Kony, and we have bands like infantile Chicago quartet Yawn to thank. The pleasure of Bandcamp is that we get to peruse hashtags like "animal collective, avant-pop, beach boys, brian eno, electronic, of montreal, vampire weekend, yeasayer, avant-pop, dreampop, electronic, indie pop, Chicago" and theoretically end up with something that resembles those terms. (Don't forget "andrew bird" and "beirut," guys.) The downside is that a slickly produced EP like Yawn's self-titled collection and last year's Open Season get out to the masses too fast. Tongue-wagging tastemakery takes over, and suddenly folks trying to fill out lineup cards at festivals end up latching onto goobers like these guys without seeing them perform.

Yawn's live act confirms they are a fraud. Thursday's appearance at Bar 96 was the art of trying as hard as possible to seem like they weren't trying. Imagine four unremarkable white dudes with unkempt hair having a rehearsal consisting of directions like "can you make your voice crack a little more when you add some unnecessary harmony to the second verse," or "make sure to introduce that song that obviously isn't slow as a 'slow jam.'" Further banter clunkers: "This is Terry Gross and you're listening to NPR" and "We're in Austin right now, but let's imagine we're in Africa." Even the guy convulsing and spazzing in place to these dilute ripoffs must have been a paid extra. Such earnest attempts to make flippant music -- well, it's enough to make you... yawn. -- Reed Fischer / City Pages

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The Best of SXSW Music: Saturday 3/17/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Nick Rallo
Justin Townes Earle at Stubb's BBQ
So, we come to it: the end of all things. Four days of madness, Doritos, Skrillex and finally, St. Patrick's Day. Before we bid SXSW 2012 farewell, allow us to share our favorite moments from SXSW day four. Later, we'll let you know which shows weren't so hot. Find our favorites below, and if there was a show that blew your hair back--let us know in the comments. To quote Raymond Chandler: "I went to brush something off my cheek, and it was the floor."

Grupo Fantasma - The Stage on Sixth
Anytime Grupo Fantasma plays, one has to fight the feeling that this might be the best band in the world, or at least the most fun. On Saturday the Grammy-winning Austin Latin funk-rock ensemble crammed nine musicians onto a small stage under a backyard tent, and put on the kind of party-rocking perfomance that can only be achieved with Latin rhythms, a three-piece horn section, and some seriously whammy'd-out guitar solos. Yes, the lyrics are in Spanish. But this group's endless energy and sunglassed cool spoke more than words ever could. When Grupo Fantasma plays, casual observers become blissed-out converts, and even the older ladies in the crowd get up to shake it. Having seen them twice now - both times in front of hometown crowds - I've learned to never underestimate this group's powers of seduction. The only thing this writer doesn't understand is why Grupo Fantasma isn't better known. -- Ian S. Port

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The Best of SXSW Music: Friday 3/16/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Marco Torres
50 Cent and Eminem at the Austin Music Hall. More photos below.
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day three, along with our sponsored Slim Shady SXSW showcase with 50 Cent and Eminem. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

50 Cent / Eminem - Austin Music Hall
Never mind that Get Rich or Die Trying actually came out in 2003; the moist and dewy crowd at Austin Music Hall last night was plenty psyched for his performance of his debut album on its "10th anniversary." Backed by a full band, 50 came out in his signature vest, though it proved unnecessary as not a single shot was fired at him. His mentor Eminem came out as surprise guest, rapping passionately from beneath his hoodie. The show was further proof that this "artists doing their seminal albums in full" thing is the best trend in popular music. -- Ben Westhoff


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SXSW: Ten Things Your Outfit Says About You

Categories: SXSW
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Photo by Erik Hess
Some folks attend South by Southwest to look at bands, but a good many passing through the 2012 edition seem to enjoy the added benefits of being looked at, as well. Even without haute couture, music fans and opportunists on the streets of Austin send a wealth of subliminal messages to each other simply by their choice of wardrobe.

Here are the top ten visual subjects who let us point a camera at them, and what their attire was saying -- or screaming -- at us. --by Reed Fischer

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The Best of SXSW Music: Thursday 3/15/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Nick Rallo
Oh nothing, just a guy in a wolf mask playing "Happy Birthday" on the violin
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day two. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

A.Dd+ - Kiss & Fly
I was at the Audible Treats showcase at Kiss & Fly to see Dallas' own A.Dd+, who had the entire crowd screaming their name by set's end. Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy facilitated that reaction somewhat by ending the set in the crowd, rapping to each other. They've got the perfect complementary flow, and when they trade verses, they actually look at each other with an intensity rarely seen in rap duos nowadays, gauging where the other might be going. They just got off tour with Detroit's Black Milk, so they've no doubt gotten a chance to refine their delivery. The energy of the set made me stick around for Brooklyn trio Flatbush Zombies, who endured some technical difficulties, but thankfully got to perform their hit "Thug Waffle." Bay area rapper Moe Green followed suit, but the surprise of the night was Georgia Anne Muldrow, an L.A. emcee who's just as comfortable with rap as jazz and soul, a beat poet who eschews formal verse/chorus/verse in favor of mantra and message. Her voice is an instrument in itself. Madlib produced her upcoming album, Seeds, and I can't wait to hear the fruits of that interstellar collaboration. - Audra Schroeder


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The Best of SXSW Music: Wednesday 3/14/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Nick Rallo
Sharon Van Etten, at the NPR showcase, was a stunner. Plus, there was a box accordion
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day one. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

Christopher Cross - Austin Music Hall
Yacht Rock was so 2007, but Christopher Cross is one cool customer. His 20 or so minutes during the Austin Music Awards Wednesday at the Austin Music Hall was set on maximum smooth, but with teeth. The Austin music scene has always been associated with hippies and then indie-rockers, but Cross has more Grammys than anyone else in town outside Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson. The four players the fedora-clad Cross had with him had Steely Dan-level chops, too. He gritted out "Ride Like the Wind" with quiet anger and yearning for freedom, then brought out local string ensemble Mother Falcon and Austin Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Bay to cruise through "Sailing."

Bonus: Watching Rolling Stone senior scribe David Fricke secretly enjoying himself during Cross' set, or at least try not to fidget too hard waiting for Alejandro Escovedo and reported special guest Bruce Springsteen. Eat your heart out, Kenny Loggins.

Random Thought from Wednesday: Supposedly Kenny Rogers is in town. Anyone know why? -- Chris Gray

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Alert: SXSW Coverage Ahead

Categories: SXSW

Marco Torres
"What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area."

-- Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive

You don't have to spend much time at South By Southwest to know that all of the above buildings can and do get used as music venues during the annual music festival. And starting Thursday, writers and photographers from the music blogs of the Village Voice Media empire plan to go to as many of them as we possibly can.

Those of us who were there last year - and saw collapsing fences, singers brawling with audience members, the Austin Police Department riot squad on constant standby, Odd Future all over the place - are wondering what else could possibly happen. We're about to find out.

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