Best shows at SXSW 2013: Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, Nick Cave and moreBy Reverb Staff | March 18th, 2013 | No Comments »
After taking a day to nap and look back on the many, many shows we saw last week, Reverb has compiled the best shows of SXSW 2013.
Matt Miller, Reverb managing editor
5) Solange, Friday, Stubb’s: Hitting those high notes during the chorus of Dirty Projector’s “Stillness is the Move” showed Solange’s fantastic vocal range, and great taste in music.
4) Earl Sweatshirt, Wednesday, Scoot Inn: At his first showcase at SXSW 2013, Earl Sweatshirt knew he had some hype to live up to, and at Scoot Inn, he came out swinging.
3) Thee Oh Sees, Friday, Hotel Vegas: It might have been the “Road Warrior”-looking surroundings or the stage that seemed like it was ready to collapse from bodies being thrown around, but Thee Oh Sees seemed perfectly at home at Hotel Vegas.
2) Kendrick Lamar, Saturday, Viceland: To close out his SXSW 2013, Kendrick Lamar completely commanded the crowd, demanding them to recite every one of his catchphrases from “ya bish” to “drank.” Also, Schoolboy Q lost his cell phone while crowd surfing, which an audience member actually found.
1) Mac DeMarco, Friday, Hotel Vegas: This band had more energy than anyone else at SXSW 2013. To prove it, Mac DeMarco crowd surfed to the top of the stage and hung upside down like it was a jungle gym — all while still singing. And this was at a point during SXSW that most bands couldn’t even lift a guitar.
John Hendrickson, Digital First Media entertainment editor
5. Wavves, Wednesday, Scoot Inn: A high-energy punk show on a shantytown stage in a gravel lot on the far east side of the city. Really, what more can you ask for?
4. Nick Cave, Wednesday, Stubbs: Purveyor of weird, purveyor of cool, purveyor of the handlebar mustache. Nick Cave’s hour-plus set kicked off the NPR showcase and proved a tough act to follow.
3. Parquet Courts, Saturday, Viceland: This Brooklyn buzz band warmed the stage for the Black Lips on the closing night of Viceland with smart lyrics, scuzzy garage rock jams and even scuzzier vocals from dueling lead singers.
2. Marnie Stern, Wednesday, Flamingo Cantina: My first time seeing Marnie Stern and the very first set of my week. She shredded before a modest crowd at the Under The Radar party in a performance that recalled female rock prowess at the same venue in years past (Le Butcherettes, 2011).
1. The Orwells, Scoot Inn, Thursday. The lead singer of the Elmhurst, Ill.’s the Orwells looks, sounds, walks, talks, sings, gyrates and moans like a teenage Robert Plant. And, for whatever reason, it was far more captivating than annoying on this early Thursday afternoon with skaters on a halfpipe behind the stage.
Ricardo Baca, Denver Post pop music critic
5) Family of the Year, Wednesday, ACL Live: The L.A. indie folk act warmed this show up for Natalie Maines, Iron & Wine and Dawes. I left Austin four days later with their “Hero” still in my head.
4) Patty Griffin, Friday, the Castle: The folkie’s short set was poignant and fitting; Her voice, as always, sounded like a starling. Ben Kweller, Steve Earle and Buddy Miller were on hand, admiring.
3) Wild Belle, Saturday, the Mohawk Indoors: Such a lovely surprise, seeing this Chicago brother-sister act pop with its dub-inspired indie pop.
2) Justin Timberlake, Saturday, the Myspace Secret Show: Seeing Justin Timberlake play a full-band set spanning all three records in an 800-person club truly was priceless.
1) Alt-J, Friday, the Mohawk Patio: The British band sounded significantly better than their Mercury Prize-winning debut, and that alone is a feat.
Reverb Managing Editor Matt Miller has a Twitter account that he uses fairly often, but not often enough to be annoying.
John Hendrickson is the Entertainment Editor at Digital First Media and the former Managing Editor of Reverb.