March 17, 2012


The 10 Best Moments of SXSW: Day 4

Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

I saw a lot during Day 4 of South by Southwest, but here are the 10 moments that stuck out, from Norwegian girl group Razika to dudes in pink bodysuits.

1. Blood Orange's Guitar Solos: AKA Lightspeed Champion, Dev Hynes' project as Blood Orange blends laptop soul with punishing guitar shredding. Hynes played to every side of the crowd and earned huge ovations with his lengthy guitar solos.

2. The-Dream's Fader Fort Set: Rocking an Oakland Raiders hat, black leather jacket and multiple gold chains, The-Dream's set at Fader Fort presented by Converse balanced baby-making jams with uptempo tracks like "Fast Car." Yet it was his boasting about metaphorically "beating up" certain parts of the female anatomy that made us nod and squirm at the same time.

3. Pink Bodysuit Guy: At the Spin @ Stubb's party, we spotted this guy walking around and had to know more. Turns out he's in a band called Conquistador and, once we saw him, we would end up bumping into him 30 more times.

4. Razika's Charming Pop: At the Cake Shop showcase at the awesomely named The Iron Bear, Norwegian all-girl quartet Razika shimmered with their Raincoats meet The Specials ska-pop. It was sweet without being saccharine and provided the most charming set of the festival.

5. Random Musician Encounters: While waiting in the hotel lobby, we spotted J. Cole checking in for his brief appearance later that day. That evening, Skrillex could be found outside The Driskill Hotel smoking a cigarette, hours before his high-profile set at the Biz 3 showcase. With all the hype and hoopla surrounding so many artists who construct their image around artifice and false perfection, the humanizing, prosaic moments are the most memorable.

6. The Street Magic of Mr. Bonetangles: The streets of Austin are filled with eccentric characters and unique skills, though none may be more entertaining than Mr. Bonetangles, a marionette (controlled by actor Will Schutze) who performs on a mini-stage to such songs as Rolling Stones "Paint It, Black" and Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World." I won't say more. Just watch.

7. Late Night Mosh Pits: At the Illmore, the late night hip hop party visited by Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky and Meek Mill, among many others, Mac Miller hosted a post-3 am party where this was not uncommon:

8. Escort's Disco Set: I've already hyped up the 17-piece disco-funk band in our Q&A, but at the Spin @ Stubb's barbecue, the group lived up to their expectations, turning in a 30-minute set filled with three percussionists and horn and orchestral sections.

9. Best Band Intro Ever: Comedian and Spin @ Stubb's host D.C. Pierson's intro to Escort was refreshing in its honest self-awareness. "This next band is from Brooklyn…like all of you."

10. Hopping on the Bandwagon: The crass, yet inevitable, bandwagoning of non-music businesses at the festivals. Spotted at one restaurant: "Our fajitas are like music to your ears."