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SXSW 2013: Day 1 (Wednesday)

Posted by - 09:16 AM on 03/14/13
This year at SXSW, Paul Tao, Lueda Alia and I are taking over Austin. We've got our recaps of Wednesday: Day 1 of the festival in the replies. Make sure to come back every day to read recaps of the rest of the days as well. Make sure to follow @apnetatshow on Twitter for random thoughts and reviews during the day before we recap them.
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09:16 AM on 03/14/13
Ryan Gardner
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Ryan GardnerFeel free to follow me on Twitter (@RyanGardnerC) for show updates throughout the day.

Considering I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about South By, I figured I had to go this year considering I’m already in Austin at school. So, with no badge or wristband and only being 19, I started out day 1 (Wednesday) by trying to find whatever I could get into not being 21. With that said, the list was few and far between.

Nonetheless, I saw my most anticipated act of South By first in the afternoon with Tegan and Sara. With Heartthrob being my favorite record of 2013 thus far, I couldn’t wait to see the sisters live. Opening with “Back In Your Head,” I knew we were in for a treat. Following this, the Quinns almost entirely stuck to Heartthrob cuts, which I was totally fine with. “I Was A Fool For You” was enticing, while “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” was groovy yet heartbreaking. Of course, the set ended with “Closer,” which was a superb sing-along, even more catchy live than on the record.

Up next at Waterloo was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Now, I’m not the biggest hip-hop fan, I’ll admit, but The Heist really hit home with me last year. However, the performance suffered due to technical difficulties. Macklemore rapped the entire first half of the opening “Ten Thousand Hours” entirely to himself, with his mic not working, making the crowd only hear the way-too-loud bass. After trying to fix the issues for twenty minutes, the set started over again. However, issues continued during second song “Thrift Shop,” so, rather than being the massive crowd favorite, it was a dud that led to many people leaving. But once it all got fixed, Macklemore emotionally rapped “Same Love” (Mary Lambert even made an appearance) before tearing through last song “Can’t Hold Us,” which was loud and powerful due to the quick rapping and swift piano keys. So, while the set had to be cut to four songs due to sound issues, Macklemore sounded sincerely apologetic, and still had an awesome performance for the re-started “Ten Thousand Hours,” “Same Love,” and the powerhouse “Can’t Hold Us.”

Following Macklemore’s show, I needed water and to charge my almost-dead iPhone – seriously, maybe it’s because it’s a 4, but the battery life sucks. So, I hiked back to campus to charge my phone, while looking up more shows to see what all I could get into at night. After searching, I couldn’t find much under 21, but luckily, I was able to see Mae frontman Dave Elkins’ new band, Schematic play their first show. Before the show, I talked with the crazy cats in The Venetia Fair for awhile, and let me just say, those are some of the nicest, wildest dudes out there. Interestingly, they said how movie soundtracks and musicals heavily influenced their latest record, Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain.

Although I’d admit to only being a casual Mae listener, Elkins sounded fantastic live fronting Schematic. The heavily distorted guitars and upbeat tempo of the new tracks fit his voice fine, as the opening “All The Birds Are Sleeping” and later tracks such as “Outside” and “Senseless Charade” came across great live. The band deserves all compliments for their musicianship, as well, especially being such a new band. In the middle of the Schematic show, Elkins let friends Asker take the stage for a few tracks. Being completely unfamiliar with them, I was very impressed with their sound. “Solid Gold” was a mellow, mid-tempo rock number that made me tap my foot right along. This is definitely a band to look out for, as they’re singed to Elkins Schematic label, and their vocalist can really belt it. If you’re interested, check out their EP, The Escape Room, for free on Noisetrade.

So by then it was nearing 10, so I ducked out with some press people and Mike from The Venetia Fair that wanted to head to Life After Liftoff’s show down the road. Since I couldn’t get into any other shows and was interested in their live show, I decided to tag along. Now, I’ll be honest and say I was hesitant about seeing the band live, as I was worried it would be a little over the top, Angels & Airwaves-esque from what I’d heard. Well, actually, aside from the spacey intros and soundscapes that served as song intros, the meat of set wasn’t bad at all. Once they got passed all the spacey effects, the songs themselves are solid pop-punk tunes. New song “Brand New Life” is one the most upbeat songs they’ve done, and their cover of Jimmy Eat World’s timeless “The Middle” didn’t sound half bad. If the band can veer away from the spacey effects and the like, they actually have genuine potential in the pop-punk scene.

So that was that – day one was over. Tegan and Sara definitely stole the day for me, no question at all. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with Schematic, as I will now continue to listen to their new record, Color (n.) Inside The Lines, as well as Mae’s discog. Today I plan to spend most of my afternoon/evening at the Topshelf/Count Your Lucky Stars Records Showcase, which I can’t wait for. Come say hey if you’re there!

Paul TaoFollow me on twitter (@paultao) for more up-to-the-minute updates throughout the day if you'd like.

Ask anyone who's been attending SXSW for more than a couple years now about how the festival/conference has changed, and the first thing they will talk about is the number of people. It's absolutely mind-blowing how many people jump on board every year, and generally it's more music fans and people coming just to drink rather than industry people, all adding to a more Spring Break feel every year. The music portion technically starts on Wednesday but as I did last year, I got in Tuesday to try and get a head start. This time I felt like I was still behind because practically everyone I knew had gotten in before me, trying out the Interactive portion (the tech stuff), which has just as huge parties as SXSW does.

Either way, as soon as I checked into my hotel and grabbed some food Tuesday night, I headed to the White Iris (LA-based singles label) party to see some friends play. I saw the tail end of Quitapenas, a Latin band I had never heard of but had heard good things about. Great musicianship, although the music just isn't up my alley really. Afterwards was El Sportivo and the Blooz, which features a handful of members of Fool's Gold, who were great. After them was NO, one of my favorite up-and-coming LA indie rock acts. If you like The National, you will like NO, essentially (as much as they will probably hate that comparison).

On Wednesday, I started early with a noon set from GEMS, a new Washington DC band that were surprisingly good for an opening slot kind of band. Definitely very Beach House-y in some respects, and a band I'll keep an eye on. After that, met up with Charli XCX (an artist that I work with) to go to a Beats By Dre gifting/interview thing, and then went to the Hype Hotel afterwards for the Gorilla Vs Bear party where Charli was playing. We caught a bit of rapper Antwon before she went on, and then Charli played. She was amazing as usual, as I've seen her play a million times by now, and you can see my instagram of it here. It was futuristic pop at its finest! After Charli, I went to the convention center to see Jake Bugg, my favorite British export of late. You have to check him out if you're a fan of Dylan, Cash, etc.

When his set was done, I headed to the Filter party to see a headlining set from Lord Huron, who put out one of the best albums of last year. It was a packed affair that got a great response from the crowd, and definitely the most impressive thing I had seen at SXSW so far this year. I popped over to the Vice party after grabbing some food to go see Io Echo, another band that I work with. My favorite combination of shoe gaze, goth rock and alternative '90s rock, they were amazing despite an half-hour-long delay in the doors being opened. The problem with all of these massive open-bar RSVP kind of parties is that there is always a crowd of thousands outside and it feels like you're about to be overwhelmed in a riot sometimes.

That was it for me for the day, as I had some friends to meet up with and a nearly-dead phone to charge, so more to come tomorrow!

Lueda AliaEda did not get in until late last night, so she'll be starting today and will post her first coverage of the festival tomorrow!
09:37 AM on 03/14/13
I want a new username.
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PirateSkater182's Avatar
Trash Talk, Wavves, and The Adolescents was all I caught yesterday, but it was super sick. What should I catch today?
09:46 AM on 03/14/13
Ryan Gardner
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Trash Talk, Wavves, and The Adolescents was all I caught yesterday, but it was super sick. What should I catch today?
I'm doing the Topshelf showcase later - https://www.facebook.com/events/458427110896657/
10:03 AM on 03/14/13
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mattregan's Avatar
No ap.net party / show this year?
12:22 PM on 03/14/13
Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
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Jamos4184's Avatar
Someone needs to go see Churchill

01:13 PM on 03/14/13
I want a new username.
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PirateSkater182's Avatar

I'll be there for Pentimento.
03:36 PM on 03/14/13
Jason Tate
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No ap.net party / show this year?
Not this year.
06:05 PM on 03/14/13
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SmeezyBeezy's Avatar
Thank you Carheence.

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