Balaclavas: "On the way to see Houston's own Balaclavas at the Independent to debut new stuff off the soon-to-be released Roman Holiday, I abruptly hit a curb with my bicycle. Luckily my elbow took one for the team. Well, it ended up getting fractured and I have all kinds of internal business going on with it. But nonetheless I got back up and tied up my bike to a light pole and walked across IH-35 to catch the show. Which was alternately stupid or dedicated." Craig Hlavaty Scott Miller: "'I've been drunk all around this town, from the downside up to the upside down....' So sings Scott Miller in 'Drunk All Around this Town,' which he calls 'the most beautiful ballad I have ever written.' That might not be true but it is a most apropos song for SXSW, and it never sounded better than it did Thursday night at Waterloo Ice House." John Nova Lomax Kylesa: "Aftermath's favorite kind of shows are the ones where people end up on the floor or skating on beer." Craig Hlavaty
Daniel Johnston: "Are we all just staring at some kind of human zoo animal, or are we seeing beyond all that and just appreciating his awesomeness? I don't know, although I suspect the answer lies somewhere in between." Keith Plocek
Echo & the Bunnymen: "The majestic 'Bring On the Dancing Horses' threw a dubby curveball, and 'I Need It Too' - new? rare? Rocks Off had never heard it before, regardless - revealed Echo's debt to the Velvet Underground is as great as ever, which they didn't exactly try to dodge with a slow, cosmic-country take on Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side.' Chris Gray
Kurt Vile: "Kurt Vile went on a good 15 minutes late, reducing his set to a two-song jam complete with saxophone, Deep Purple riffin', pre-programmed drum fills.Vile sings behind a bushy mane of Ritchie Blackmore fuzz and his bassist looks like Thurston Moore circa 1980." Craig Hlavaty
The Sonics: "Their current hold on modern garage rock was evident by seeing members of the Black Lips and King Khan and The Shrines in attendance guzzling beers in the pit during the show. The Sonics opened with 'He's Waiting' with its big bad sax lines and Little Richard-style yelps that defined their two landmark albums." Craig Hlavaty
Glasvegas: "The much-discussed Scottish band came out and played a soaring set of beautiful melodies dripping with pain - chief among them opener 'Geraldine.' The Glaswegians' sound was huge, marked by church organ and swirls of ambient effects that swaddled the melancholy music in a soothing shroud." Chris Gray
Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women: "Obviously much more invested in this than they would be a typical SXSW performance, the one-off band honored Gaffney - who had played and recorded with many, if not all, onstage - with an hour that showed both how much he's missed and what an impressive and soulful country-rock legacy he leaves behind." Chris Gray
Lady Sovereign: "All I know is this little chick is tough. I mean, fo' real. You do not want to fuck with Lady Sovereign, and I am not just saying that because the beer she punted off the stage drenched me from head to toe. (Alright, maybe a little.) All I know is that little Londoner is the real mothafuckin' deal." John Nova Lomax
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The Black Lips: "Black Lips came on a tad over 30 minutes late in front of the packed Cedar Street crowd that seemed to be glued to one another. Any movement was robotic and every maneuver was like playing a game of human Tetris." Craig Hlavaty
Wild Moccasins' SXSW Journal: "We grabbed some lunch at Veggie Heaven, then went to the NPR event at the Parish to see The Dirty Projectors. They were slated to play around 3 p.m., and after a short stint waiting in line we were early enough to discover Blk Jks and K'Naan. These two bands were unknown to me, and I was floored by each one." Nicholas Cody (Bass)
The Dicks: "The Dicks' five-song set Wednesday night - incorporating shoutalongs like 'Rich Daddy' and 'Dicks Hate Police' - was pure, primal rock and roll: raw, leering and spawning the first mosh pit Rocks Off has been in for years. Ex-Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard provocateur David Yow - who, speaking of ghosts, looked a little like death warmed over - emerged to yowl and contort his way through 'Wheelchair Epidemic.'" Chris Gray
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears: "Drawing mostly from brand-new Lost Highway LP Tell 'Em What Your Name Is! - as producer and Spoon drummer Jim Eno looked on from the wings - Lewis channeled soul legends from Wilson Pickett to Baytown's own Joe Tex in his urgent pleas for romantic amnesty or strident demands that no-good woman hit the road." Chris Gray