Tacos n’ Riots: The best and worst moments of SXSW 2014
Our jet set international affairs correspondent, Emily Hill, recently descended upon Austin for this year’s instalment of South by Southwest. After ten days of running around in the Texas heat, sniffing out the world’s best emerging artists, gorging on free tacos, and dodging riots, this is what she came back with. Read her festival highlights below and listen to a playlist of her favourite musical discoveries here.
Best in-concert moment: Easily my favourite moment was seeing Yellow Peelander crowd surf. He’s the lead singer of Peelander Z, a comic punk band who I discovered this year, but they’re already pretty well known in Austin and New York. Each band member dresses in crazy Power-Ranger-like costumes and is named according to color (i.e. Pink Peelander on vocals, Green Peelander on drums). There was lots of crowd surfing, sing-alongs, and even human bowling. I was instantly in love. Here’s a hilarious video of Yellow Peelander’s crowd surf in action.
Favourite showcases: I had two favourite hang outs. First, the Airbnb Park – they covered a whole parking lot with astroturf, then decorated it with Adirondack chairs, lawn games, and picnic tables. There was free coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, and vintage movie screenings. Second, and decidedly more debaucherous, was the Sailor Jerry House. They had doughnuts, pizza, dark and stormies, and – I’m not kidding – free tattoos. I had plenty of rum, but not enough to get a tat.
Favourite new discoveries: The super smooth grooves of Har Mar Superstar, who, as it turns out, is a balding middle-aged white guy who likes getting naked on stage. And the joyful orchestrations of Kishi Bashi – he plays violin and beat boxes? It’s amazing.
Biggest celebs spotted: I totally saw Lady Gaga. I was at a street corner when a huge motorcade of cops and shiny black Escalades stopped traffic. When they rolled through the intersection, I saw Gaga and her giant blonde dreads, sipping juice in the front seat.
Number of tacos consumed: I ate tacos for nearly every meal of the day, so this number is pretty absurd. Let’s see…eight days…four to five tacos a day…errr…probably around 35. I’m a monster.
Clearest indicator of the record-level attendance: The lines! Lines everywhere! Blocks and blocks and blocks of lines.
Number of riots participated in: All of them.
Photo by Emily Hill