So I'm back home recovering from my third SXSW, all in all a great experience. Did not get to see as many bands this year due to my gf being there for the first time and just how everything played out, but I figured I would list some of the highlights, especially some of the ones that pertain to Coachella. Broken down by day here were the shows that stood out in one form or another:
Andrew Bird ACL taping - I was very lucky to get tickets to this, one of the best shows of the week. Austin City Limits is a televised concert series in it's 35th season. I love Andrew Bird and he did not fail to disappoint in this small venue, playing an hour and a half of materiel spanning all his albums. For those who don't know this guy I highly recommend giving him a listen.
Late of The Pier - Decided to check this band out since they are playing Coachella. Did not stay long but I liked what I heard, upbeat and dancey, sort of like the Faint just not as good. I will check them out at Coachella more barring any major conflicts. I recommend if you like that type of music.
The Decemberists - I had seen the Decemberists a few times before but I knew this would be a specials performance as I heard they were playing their new album "The Hazards of Love" in its entirety. It was refreshing to hear this new record still retained the classic Decemberists sound but seemed to head off in a new direction. It had more of a rock element with some "heavy" guitar riffs amongst the usual organ and accordian type music. Some of the songs were quite epic towards the middle, which was the part I enjoyed most. Left early so did not catch the very ending but I will say from what I saw of the show I liked the new record a lot.
Booka Shade - Great way to end the night, these guys tear it up. I had seen some of their show at Coachella and knew this was where I wanted to be. They are kind of corny in their presentation but their beats and stage presence really get the crowd going. We danced until they turned the house lights up and made everyone leave.
No Age - Another Coachella band, I was determined to check these guys out with all the hype they are getting. I like their record enough, but their live show was just a bit too muddy to really grab me. They had good energy but the show was more loud than good IMO. I wanted it to be better but I personally liked HEALTH a whole lot more in the same vein of music. Maybe I'll give these guys another shot at Coachella but they are far from a must see for me.
Tori Amos - Her show was packed and I had trouble seeing much but it hardly mattered. Having never owned an album of hers or seen a show my expectations were well exceeded. She switched between keyboard and piano while always engaging the audience in beautiful renditions of her tunes, some new ones as well I believe from her forthcoming album. This is the kind of music that you can close your eyes to and enjoy almost even more than having a good view. Very glad I got to see this.
Big Boi - Hell fucking yes, my favorite show of the whole conference! Even without Andre 3000 he just tore it up, plowing through many Outkast hits that I figured I would never hear live (BOB, Rosa Parks, Ms. Jackson, Da Art of Storytellin', So Fresh So Clean, etc). The energy was high and his flow was tight, it was a surreal experience but unbelievably enjoyable. He played some songs from his new record which is coming out this summer and also mentioned that the new Outkast record was coming out later this year as well. We can only hope!!
I'm going to finish the rest of this write up later including reviews of Alberta Cross (who are playing Coachella), HEALTH, DJ Shadow, and Dead Prez. Anyone else who was lucky enough to be there let me know what you saw and stood out to you.