Fact: There are three standard SXSW questions.
1) Where are you staying? 2) How inappropriate is it to be drunk by noon? 3) What bands are you most excited about seeing?
Ah, Question Three. There's the rub!
Well, the big blog buzz band of the moment--literally, at this very moment in time--is, uh, Hot Chip, who isn't playing SXSW...
But the No. 2 band on the Hype Machine list is! It's Vampire Weekend! And they've been a Hype Machine staple for months now! Because everyone loves tweed knit sweaters! And afro beat-, new wave-inspired pop with prep school charm, apparently.
So let's make it official and anoint Vampire Weekend as the most anticipated act of the festival. (Translation: You ain't getting into their sole showcase of the festival--at 11 p.m. at Antone's on Friday--unless you're willing to camp out at that one place all night).
After the jump, we'll break the Friday night Antone's showcase down and compare that venue's 11 o'clock act (Vampire Weekend) with the 11 o'clock acts of other venues on Friday in an attempt to answer the age-old (does five minutes qualify as "age-old"?) question: Is it worth trying to catch Vampire Weekend this weekend at SXSW?
First, the highlights from 10 and 11 o'clock shows you'd potentially be missing out on in order to catch all the greatness that is Vampire Weekend (pay attention to those asterisks, they mean something): - Liam Finn at the Ale House (10 p.m.) - Handsome Furs at Bourbon Rocks Patio (10:30)* - The Helio Sequence at Bourbon Rocks Patio (11:30)* - Rogue Wave at Cedar Door (10 p.m.)* - Dr. Dog at Cedar Door (11 p.m.) - Bobby Bare, Jr., at C;lub de Ville (10 p.m.) - Panther at Emo's IV Lounge (11 p.m.) - Flosstradamus at Emo's Main Room (10:15 p.m.) - The Cool Kids at Emo's Main Room (11 p.m.) - Apes at Flamingo Cantina (10:30 p.m.) - Takka Takka at Friends (10 p.m.) - Be Your Own Pet at Mohawk Patio (11 p.m.) - Born Ruffians at Ninety Proof Lounge (11 p.m.) - Shout Out Louds at Parish (11 p.m.) - MGMT at Stubb's (10 p.m.) - The Cribs at Stubb's (11 p.m.) - X at the Austin Convention Center (10 p.m.)
...and those are only the bands playing those time slots that audiophiles like you and I might recognize. A great list.
So, now, let's look at Antone's Friday night lineup: 8 p.m. - Bear in Heaven (Brooklyn) 9 p.m. - Basia Bulat (Toronto) 10 p.m. - Foreign Born (Los Angeles) 11 p.m. - Vampire Weekend (New York)* 12 p.m. - DeVotchKa (Denver) 1 p.m. - Constantines (Toronto)
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...OK, not bad. DeVotchKa's especially awesome. But since they're playing after VW, they don't really get factored in here. Same goes for Constantines.
Now, about those asterisks...They mark a band whose Friday night performance will be the sole performance the band has this week in Austin. So, even more specifically, you're choosing between...
(A) Vampire Weekend (B) Rogue Wave (C) Handsome Furs and Helio Sequence (who are playing the same venue)
Gotta go with C there, right? Not only is that an inspired pairing at Bourbon Rocks Patio, but it likely opens up the earlier portions of your night. Sorry, Columbia University alums, but it's tough to say if getting to Vampire Weekend this weekend is really worth the hassle. -- Pete Freedman