SXSW Music Rap-Up

SXSW, and all the music that goes with it, has once again come and gone. And though the powers that be didn’t want me to wrap-up the festival quite how I’d hoped (see above), I still wanted to offer some parting thoughts from myself after fearlessly braving beautiful weather and free booze, all in the name of song. (And don’t forget to check out the playlist below of all GSD&M’s favorite bands from SXSW 2013.)

Now, since I’m a sucker for a list and my brain is basically still pudding from last week, I’m going to offer up my pudding thoughts in easily digestible pudding bullets.

  • I think we can all agree that Jim James was the King of SXSW 2013. Yes, Justin Timberlake played some LinkedIn show. And P. Diddy popped by the Froyo Fort. And even Prince (yes, that Prince) did his Prince-thing on a stage made out of a giant Motorola Razr. BUT Jim James was absolutely flooring audiences multiple times a day throughout the week. I guarantee you can’t find a music blogger who doesn’t talk about James opening a set with, “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.),” as if it was the birth of music itself. Which it well may have been.
  • So long as we’re passing out crowns, I’ve got to bestow one on Solange, who held court with a wide smile and an astonishing voice. She and her band swayed back and forth in perfect time and the masses followed suit. And if you were referring to her as, “Beyoncé’s sister,” at the start of last week, I bet you’re not now. “Beyoncé’s sister” is dead, long live Solange.
  • National Geographic knows how to throw a party. And by that I mean it was in a quiet basement, sparsely attended, and full of wine, hummus, and fancy glazed chicken nugget-like things.
  • Rob Zombie was incredibly warm and well-spoken during an interview about his films. He seemed like someone I would be happy to introduce to my grandmother, though it likely wouldn’t be at a screening of his new film, “The Lords Of Salem.”
  • Cayucas and Ducktails prepared me for summer just as much as I had hoped. I’d describe Cayucas as the lovechild of Vampire Weekend and The Soft Pack who was conceived on a beach, and I hope they’d be okay with that. Meanwhile, I still firmly believe that Ducktails is perfect porch-sittin’ music.
  • Let’s talk about the Flaming Lips show at Auditorium Shores. They played their new album in its entirety. Wayne Coyne held an electric alien squid baby throughout the show while wearing a sparkly suit that was either fire retardant or incredibly flammable. He also pulled a gal’s hair (by request) while she sang at his feet. The crowd seemed fittingly confused but nonetheless entertained.
  • My favorite brand interaction was with Honest Tea. They had a little booth that they shuttled to different venues where their people would dish out free compliments to attendees. If you complimented someone else, you got a free tea. If you Instagrammed your compliment, you got free sunglasses. I did both– not because I wanted iced tea (it’s still sitting in my fridge) or sunglasses (I’ve got that shamefully covered), but because the notion of promoting lighthearted positivity during such a fatiguing festival genuinely made me happy (aw…). Which brings me to my final observation…
  • My real parting thought would be thus: just because SXSW is an enormous, undulating, sweaty herd that never stops moving, doesn’t mean we should shake off our humanity for the week. So shame on you, guy tossing your half eaten burrito onto the sidewalk. And yes, obnoxious gal in line, it does still count as a free drink if the bartenders are accepting tips. And you bitter Austinites taking to the Internet to declare your disgust at this annual invasion? Try to accept it. Or embrace it. Or maybe even join it! You might just enjoy yourself. But I think as long as we all respect ourselves, those around us, and those on stage, we’re all much more likely to have a great time.
  • That being said, people who smoke clove cigarettes in the middle of a crowded concert venue are still the worst and should be cast out from society.

Be sure to check out a few thoughts and highlights from other puddings folks around the agency: https://stage.gsdm.com/sxsw-music-highlights-musings/

That about wrap-wrap-wraps it up. See y’all out there next year. Until then, I’ll be soaking my feet, cutting off my wristbands, and trying to wash the smell of certain chip-wrapped tacos out of my hair.

(And in case you were wondering: yes, the above video is most certainly a loving homage.)

By Tyler Booker
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