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SXSW 2011: The fest in photos
The same unfortunate mix of factors - too many fans, not enough space for em, and zealous law enforcement – resulted in two shows at SXSW 2011, the reunion set by Death From Above 1979 at Beauty Bar and The Strokes at the sprawling Auditorium Shores Amphitheatre, making headlines for all the wrong reasons. But of course the vast majority of the several thousand other shows during indie music’s (and increasingly, music in general’s) biggest week went off incident-free.
Of course there was that traveling “incident”, the tornado of hip hop abandon known as Odd Future, the undisputed talk of the town in Austin this year, whether they were playing their own gigs, appearing at MTVU’s Woodie Awards, newly transplanted to SXSW, hanging out at shows by Smith Westerns and The Black Lips, or bum rushing the stage at Diddy’s surprise closing night appearance at Fader Fort. If Odd Future wore the crown of attention, runners up included UK band of the year Yuck, logging a taxing ten shows, sounding inspired and inspiring at every one; UK solo artist of the year James Blake, whose first week in America, ever, included an open air set at bustling Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and a late night one at the Central Presbyterian Church, where you could hear a pin drop; and supergirl supergroup Wild Flag. They headlined the Friday night Merge party, one of the week’s stronger lineups, one that also included Telekinesis and Wye Oak.
Owen Pallett made a rare SXSW appearance and turned in a few appearances, Matt & Kim delivered the smiles as only they can do, Brad Oberhofer and his band continued their rise as one of Brooklyn’s more talked young outfits, and SF vets Thee Oh Sees rocked as hard and as relentlessly as bands who’ve been doing it a fraction as long. Friday afternoon saw our favorite Nashville garage boys Turbo Fruits on a bill put together by Lower East Side mainstay Fontana’s, along with Brooklyn’s Gay Blades and Bear Hands.
Vice delivered and then some two nights in a row – first on Thursday, in a showcase that included Dávila 666, OFF! and The Black Lips and then on Friday with a launch party for its new spin off site Noisey (what?!?!) that featured the week’s only appearance by the great Ariel Pink. The Strange Boys, Fergus and Geronimo, Ty Segall and more closed out the week with Panache’s Saturday night gig, while across town Stereogum staged quite the late night closing bash with Cults, Das Racist and more. There was more, so much more, and as ever, so little time. As a friend who shared a cab to the airport on Sunday morning observed “South By always seems to fly by. Before you know it it’s over.” True enough, but while it lasts there is no other ride quite like it. Enjoy.