Didn’t get the chance to head to Austin for South by Southwest this year? No worries; we did. And after four straight days of hoofing it all over downtown Austin, catching show after show, we discovered a slew of musical acts that majorly impressed us. We’re here to guide you to the best bands of SXSW at a summer festival near you. (And if it’s not so near, then we guess you’ll be buying a plane ticket.)
2. The incredible Daniel Johnston.
3. Eating free barbecue and watching the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach tear it up at the Mean-Eyed Cat. Great food. Great place. Amazing music.
4. Discovering Passion Pit after wandering into Emo’s one night. We are now very passionate about them.
5. Hoboken Pizza. But only if you’re sitting on the curb when you eat it. (Kudos to T.J. for suggesting it.)
Janelle Monáe’s stage dive into the crowd after an unbeatable performance at Stubbs. Watching her smash the mic afterward was even better.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalJUNE 11 TO 14
The cool thing about Bonnaroo is the diverse range of musical genres it covers: indie rock, jam bands, country, folk, bluegrass, rap, hiphop, jazz, reggae. If the genre exists, there will be a stage for it. You’ll also find comedians, art, workshops, and just about anything else you can imagine on offer. The name Bonnaroo means “a really good time,” and this little shindig more than lives up to the hype. From $250 . www.bonnaroo.com
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Beastie Boys, Phish, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco
ALSO WORTH CHECKINGOUT:
Yeasayer, TV on the Radio, MGMT , Band of Horses, Bon Iver, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams
SXSW PLAYERS :
The Decemberists We were among the lucky crowd at Stubbs who got to hear the Decemberists play their new album, The Hazards of Love (a rock opera of sorts), live, start to finish, for the first time ever. If the band plays even half of what we heard, you won’t be disappointed.
Grizzly Bear Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church was the perfect setting for the hazy, lofty melodies of this experimental folk-rock band. Unfortunately, an outdoor festival probably isn’t. However, since this is a truly fantastic band, just try to get as close as possible -- and ignore all the talkers around you.
Janelle Monáe A little R&B, a little funk, a little techno -- and a lot rock and roll. Basically, futuristic soul music with an edge. This chick is hard-core and puts on one heck of a show.