South By Southwest 2015 is nearly over — today is the last major day of the weeklong marathon. Follow us here as we continue to live-blog the best and the worst of what SXSW has to offer. For minute-to-minute coverage, follow us on Twitter at @thedailytexan. Want a recap of Friday at SXSW? Check out our coverage on yesterday's blog.
Updated (9:23 p.m.): South By Southwest means a lot of things — music, celebrities, long lines everywhere you turn. For the staff on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, South By means a (sort of) vacation. www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/03/21/john-lennon-educational-tour-bus-makes-a-stop-at-sxswhttp://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/03/21/john-lennon-educational-tour-bus-makes-a-stop-at-sxsw
Bryce Quig-Hartman is one of the on-board engineers aboard the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Graeme Hamilton | The Daily Texan
Updated (7:25 p.m.):
Rapper and actor Snoop Dogg gave the SXSW Music keynote speech Friday morning. Snoop preached an ethic of hard work and respect. Michael Conway | Daily Texan Staff
Updated (3:15 p.m.): After spending hours and hours in a variety of theaters across Austin, our movie reviewer, Alex Pelham, is finally finished. Check out his final review, of the unusual and suprisingly funny "Manson Family Vacation," here.
Courtesy of Logolite Entertainment
Want to catch up on all our SXSW movie reviews? We've compiled them all in one easy-to-browse list. Enjoy — and once you've seen the films, let us know what you think! Follow Alex on Twitter at @talkingofpelham and read his regular movie reviews here.
Updated (2:43 p.m.): "The Boy," the latest offering from director Craig Macneill, tries to subtly document a child's descent into a vicious creature. The problem is, his approach is too subtle — resulting in a totally unconvincing plot. Although the performances are great, the movie itself is dull. Read our full review of "The Boy" here.
Updated (2:14 p.m.): If there’s one thing MTV’s Woodie Awards can almost guarantee their audience, it’s variety. The Woodie Awards, which recognize the best in music as voted by college students, made a splash at SXSW on Friday night. Click here to see some of the night's big winners — including Fall Out Boy, Childish Gambino, Hoodie Allen and Taylor Swift.
Rapper Big Sean performs at the Woodies on Friday evening. Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff
Updated (1:34 p.m.): It’s Saturday, which means the time to go home and rest up is drawing near. But before that dreaded Monday begins, there are still plenty of people to see. On our schedule today:
- Christine and the Queens — French indie-pop singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier, who self-describes her music as “freakpop,” performs at Empire Garage
- When: 10:00 p.m. – 10:50 p.m.
- Age Restrictions: 21+
Marina and the Diamonds — Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis performs her indie-pop, new wave music at Empire Garage
- When: 11:00 p.m. – 11:50 p.m.
- Age Restrictions: 21+
- MS MR — Indie-pop, New York-based duo Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow perform at Empire Garage
- When: 12:00 a.m. – 12:40 a.m.
- Age Restrictions: 21+
- For live-tweets from the concerts and from downtown in general, follow us on Twitter at @katclarksamp and @ldlopz. We'll be tweeting to the very end.
Updated (12:04 p.m.):
SXSW volunteer Bianca Benavidez watches crowds downtown on Friday evening. SXSW-goers had to deal with rainfall on Friday, but this didn't deter massive crowds and lines. Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff
Updated (11:36 a.m.) Our intrepid movie reviewer, Alex Pelham, is finally winding down his thorough examination of all SXSW Film has to offer. To read his reviews of "Ava's Possessions" and "Creative Control," click here.
Courtesy of Ghost Robot Films
Updated (11:25 a.m.): Weather Report
Good morning, slightly-damp festival-goers! And good news for those of you who like rain: You'll be seeing more of it today. Temperatures will linger in the low- to mid-60's for the rest of the day and into the evening, with scattered showers and bouts of drizzle between now and about 4:00 p.m. Austin is technically under a flash flood warning that's set to expire at 7:00 p.m. Want more? Check out the full forecast here.
On Thursday, Austin City Council approved a resolution to conduct an in-depth review of South By Southwest activities as they relate to city safety and capacity.
According to City Councilman Mike Martinez, who drafted the proposal, the SXSW crash that resulted in the deaths of four and injuries of more than 20 others was the catalyst for the proposal.
“The tragic incident that occurred during this year’s festival touched a nerve … and frankly it felt to me and many others I’ve heard from like a warning signal,” Martinez said.
SXSW Music spokeswoman Elizabeth Derczo said the organization is in full support of the council’s resolution.
“It’s a terrific initiative, and we’re eager to incorporate the results to produce the best possible event for all SXSW attendees — global and local alike,” Derczo said. “We look forward to the discussion and ongoing collaboration.”
According to Martinez, nearly 400,000 people flock to Austin to attend SXSW. Martinez said a comprehensive analysis of the event should involve the entire Austin community.
“[This] conversation needs to include everyone — SXSW officials, venue owners, hoteliers, musicians, cyclists, Public Assembly Code Enforcement … and perhaps most of all, Austinites who simply want to enjoy the city during the festival,” Martinez said.
The proposal also requests the Austin Music Commission and Urban Transportation Commission hold public hearings to improve the festival and its associated traffic management issues.
“The commission is eager to participate in this process to make SXSW and all major events in Austin safer and better for musicians and music fans as well,” said Nakia Reynoso, Austin Music Commission member and local musician.
Martinez said city staff has been making efforts every year to help make SXSW a successful festival but said a more comprehensive look at its effects on the city is needed.
“I just think it’s time to unleash a whole mess of homegrown creativity and work together as a community to help make SXSW freakin’ awesome for many years to come,” Martinez said.
Linguistics junior and SXSW staff member Emily Hunker said she believes the large SXSW crowds make it harder to keep the festival safe.
“Being around and getting to know the people at SXSW — the locals and the out-of-towners — is what makes it so fun,” Hunker said. “But too many people in one place or venue can get messy and cause incidents like the ones that happened this year.”
Everything seems to come to a breaking point during the fifth, and basically last, day of SXSW. The festival's events coincided with St. Patrick's Day, resulting in a Saturday that was catastrophic, but in all the right ways.
The Fader Fort brought in an assortment of artists during the week, but their special guest for Saturday was more than anyone could hope for. Hip-hop heavyweight Rick Ross took to the stage later in the evening, whose boastful grunts and husky rhyme delivery had concertgoers in a frenzy. From older hits like "Hustlin," to more-recent tracks like "B.M.F.," the big man's set was well-received.
Emo's East and the newly-opened Beauty Ballroom hosted a Super Party presented by Scion, that featured artists Diplo, Trash Talk, A-Trak and the A$AP Mob. The evening performances were incredible; rap duo G-Side had fans bouncing wildly as they went through tracks off of their latest release, iSLAND. Accompanied by a few backup singers, rappers ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova received plenty of Austin love for their show, running around onstage and pumping up the crowd.
The A$AP Mob was more just about A$AP Rocky, but fans didn't seem to care; the "Pretty Muthafucka" started off with "Pretty Flacko," and brought out his clique towards the end of the set. "We're not just rap; we're punk-rap," said A$AP Rocky proudly, before stage-diving into the crowd. A caped crusader, who introduced himself as "Super Party Guy" followed in suit behind him, receiving laughter and applause from the A$AP Mob and attendees.
Unfortunately, things became a little too rowdy for the A$AP Mob during their performance at the Vice Kills Texas party, where the group ended up in an altercation involving some of the crowd members. This hasn't been the first time SXSW has seemed to end on a sour note: last year during Death From Above 1979's performance, a group of fans who could not get into the show, broke out into a riot. For the most part though, this year's SXSW was a success, bringing in a diverse collection of artists that satisfied.
For those still fighting the good fight that is SXSW, Friday graciously offered some of the best events and shows so far.
Early during the day, Antone's had attendees rocking out to the sounds of artists LP and local up-and-comer Gary Clark Jr. LP's puffy hair and short, Bob Dylan-like stature had fans intrigued from the get-go, and when she opened her mouth is when things became rowdy. The girl can sing, but that's to be expected of a singer-songwriter who's written for the likes of Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. She immediately won over new listeners with her melodic riffs and dynamic arrangements. Gary Clark Jr. was a blues-rock beast. Strutting his stuff with the utmost confidence and swagger, Jr. let his guitar do all the talking as he wailed alongside his powerful band.
Progressive metal group I Wrestled a Bear Once were as ridiculous as their name suggests them to be. Their oddness works in their favor though; incorporating electro, synthpop and metal into their music, the band creates a musical monster that is terrifying at first, but wins you over after a few listens. The group performed outside at the MI Annex, causing a ruckus with their cacophonic guitars, and blood-curdling screams from vocalist Krysta Cameron.
The Austin Musical Hall served as a venue for nostalgia as rapper 50 Cent took the stage to perform his first album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', in its entirety. Although the artist has been busy preparing for his musical return with a fifth album scheduled for release later this year, 50 Cent treated fans to a once in a lifetime experience. Unsurprisingly, Eminem came onstage to perform alongside his protege early on during the set, but for the most part, the show was all 50's. From "In da Club," to "P.I.M.P.," the rapper had fans singing along, and having a good time.
The winner of the day's festivities though, would have to be 21st St. Co-op's South By South Mess. It was exhilarating, sweaty and unpredictable, the three things you normally expect to get out of a concert at the co-op. Local experimental rock group Zorch had fans in a daze as the duo performed in pure darkness; beads of neon green flickered over drummer Sam Shmu's drumset, his arms flailing like a dying octopus.
Maps and Atlases performed afterwards, and their set was nothing short of incredible. The band performed an assortment of songs from their discography, and ended with "Solid Ground." "Well I slept on, the solid ground, near your house," sang frontman Dave Davidson; fans sang along and moved to the groove at the intimate performance.
It's not uncommon to find the third day of SXSW overwhelming. Where Tuesday and Wednesday saw an array of acts getting acquainted with the Texas vibe, by Thursday those groups are all ready to go, playing an assortment of shows jam-packed into one day.
Hardcore punk group Trash Talk had the best performance of the day, playing alongside Cloud Nothings, Cities Aviv and Danny Brown at the Pitchfork Day Party. Trash Talk, a group notorious for their catastrophic performances, did not disappoint. With feedback bleeding through the speakers and waves of distortion swallowing the inside stage of the Mohawk, Trash Talk went right into their set. It was amazingly gruesome; bodies by the dozen were hitting the floor, and maniacal frontman Lee Spielman had no problem guiding his flock into absolute madness.
"Everybody run around me," said Spielman as he sat down in the middle of the circle pit, as if channeling their energy for his own use. "I want people to jump off the speakers, stage, soundboard; anything," said Spielman before Trash Talk ended. Fans took those words to heart; no one was safe from the bodies diving in mid air.
Aside from the enjoyable chaos that ensued at the Mohawk, most of the events were much more tame. The mtvU Woodie Awards featured performances from Santigold, A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller and Steve Aoki. A$AP Rocky performed earlier in the day; the "Pretty Mothafucka" had fans energized for the rest of the day's performances, stage-diving during his set. Steve Aoki's show finished things off; the electronic artist brought out Lil' Jon and Chidera Anamege from Chiddy Bang to hype the crowd up.
The night served as a special moment for artists Mac Miller, Best Coast and Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), who all received a Woodie Award. Rapper MGK, who won this year's Breaking Woodie Award, was excited about his winning. "Dreams do come true," said MGK. "MGK is a very on the edge type of artist, and people either love me or hate me. So it was definitely surprising."
Wednesday showed a significant pick-up from the festivities offered on Tuesday. With a light breeze and free drinks galore, music fans and artists took to the streets of downtown in search of a good time.
Thrasher Magazine and Converse's Death Match event at the Scoot Inn kicked off yesterday. Skateboarders seeking refuge took to the Scoot Inn, where they were greeted with a mini-ramp and an assortment of acts including definitive hardcore punk act Cro-Mags. The event has become infamous for its anarchic atmosphere and unpredictability; last year Odd Future performed and had fans going wild as they jumped from just about everything in sight. Death Match 2012's debut was no less; from its chaotic moshpits to skateboarders eating pavement, the event's first day is a warm welcome to the unruliness that is expected to occur as the week goes by.
Bigger-than-life rock and roll group Foxy Shazam's performance at Waterloo Records outside stage was nothing short of spectacular. Notorious for their live performances, the band had no problem energizing fans as they went through old and new hits. "I Like It," a song that prides itself in glorifying the beauty of female voluptuousness, resulted in pure booty-shaking joy. As always lead singer and frontman Eric Nally epitomized showmanship. A staple part of his onstage persona, Nally requested multiple cigarettes from the audience, lit about five of them up, smoked them momentarily and proceeded to swallow them whole. Regardless of what was digested, Foxy Shazam put on a great performance that left listener's ears satisfied and full.
Wednesday also served as the return for songstress Fiona Apple, who performed her first SXSW show at Stubb's. One of the most anticipated performances of the festival, Apple's set proved that the contemplative and whimsical artist's talents have not gone to waste during her absence. The singer-songwriter debuted some new songs from her forthcoming album The Idler Wheel..., and had no problem pleasing fans with classics such as, "Criminal," "Fast As You Can" and "Sleep to Dream." Apple kept her performance direct and to the point; occasionally she would joke with the audience about not remembering verses to her new songs, but undeniable charm and charismatic stage persona made for an unforgettable show.
Unless you were fortunate enough to catch Jay-Z's exclusive performance at the ACL Moody Theater on Monday, most music patrons did not really get a taste of what SXSW had to offer until Tuesday. Opening up the music portion of the annual festival were an assortment of groups, including Santigold, Theophilus London, Danny Brown, and Delta Spirit.
La Zona Rosa foreshadowed the fun and unpredictability that SXSW is expected to bring with its Warner Sound Showcase. Up-and-coming artist Neon Hitch had no problem dazzling the crowd with her sultry decor and sexy dance-club tracks. Although the artist only performed three songs, it was more than enough; ending with "Love U Betta," the scandily-clad songstress dropped it low, leaving concertgoers on an energetic high. Following Neon Hitch was Outasight, a rapper and singer based out of Yonkers, New York. It's no wonder the guy has worked with the likes of Asher Roth; his party-friendly rhymes and sing-along choruses were the perfect formula for La Zona Rosa's young crowd.
Theophilus London took to the stage soon after, and offered plenty of classics and new songs for fans. "Last Name London" and "Flying Overseas" were mere appetizers to London's new tracks, including the "Big Spender," which features A$AP Rocky on the track. An onslaught of bass from the monitors had the crowd bumping butts; London attempted to do A$AP Rocky's freestyle, and although his flow may not be as smooth as the one and only "Pretty Muthafucka," London pulled it off.
Although London put on a great show, it was Santigold who killed it. Her band, decked out in Devo-like 1980s apparel, went through songs "L.E.S. Artistes," "Big Mouth" and "Creator." For "Creator," the electropop songstress brought fans onstage to dance along with her. The different selection of dance moves offered by participants had Santigold amused and fans pleased; the onstage dancers received a round of applause from the audience, and a look of approval from the singer herself.
Warner Sound weren't the only ones causing a ruckus; on the other side of town at 1100 Warehouse, rap magazine XXL hosted their Freshmen Showcase, highlighting some of the year's brightest new rappers. The set included rappers Future, Hopsin and the local Kydd, but it was up-and-comer Danny Brown who stole the show. His hair fluffed up and in disarray, Brown looked like a madman whose schizophrenic vocal delivery only contributed to his maniacal demeanor. Switching between a high-pitched nasal drawl and declarative shouts, Brown's performance was made even better by his charisma, giving the crowd a hyped-up set that will prepare them for the shows up ahead.