The Best of SXSW
6. Trash Talk: A consistent highlight of SXSW every year has been rising hardcore band and festival veterans Trash Talk. Regardless of their rising star, the band shows no signs of cleaning up their act. One of their most exciting assets is the absolute chaos and mayhem that takes place any time they play, and that was true even when they played at the Mohawk at 4 p.m. last Wednesday afternoon.
Front man Lee Spielman was literally bouncing off the walls when I arrived slightly late. While I was busy standing in line and worrying if I would get in, Spielman suddenly appeared on the Mohawk's outdoor wall, notably sporting a cast on one leg, and yelling at the top of his lungs at those of us still outside.
The insanity only continued when I got in and witnessed Spielman's antics completely uninhibited by his injury, including crowd-surfing from the stage to the merch table by the end of the set and enlisting a ten-year-old to write for Pitchfork Media, which was sponsoring the show. --Corey Deiterman
5. Haim: If saying, "These guys are going to blow up" makes it so, then Haim would be making us all forget about Justin Bieber by next week. As it stands, the band ("We are Haim. Three fuckin' Jewish sisters from LA," as Este Haim described it from the stage at one point) is candy on record and feral live, and that's more than enough. --Kiernan Maletsky
See also: Haim: Three Sisters on the Ascent
4. The People: Let's just start right up front with the caveats: douchebags are all over the place at SXSW, preening royalty in the rapidly crumbling House of Music Industry. As a badgeholder, I understand the irony of what I'm about to say here.
Photo by Marco Torres
But once you separated yourself from the people who were in Austin on "official" business, you quickly found yourself among real, actual music fans, people who came from all over the world to listen to bands play songs and find other humans who also like to do that. The happiest people I found at SXSW were those with the least access. --Kiernan Maletsky