Graphic by Madeline Rosemurgy (Source)

We’ve taken a moment to dust ourselves off, catch up on the sleep we missed and nurse our many wounds, but the time has finally come to look back on the legendary time we had at SXSW 2013. Each year, the event seems to get bigger — more people, more bands, more free beer and, mostly, more fun. This year was absolutely no exception, so we decided to not only share our favorite sets and parties with you, we even made a badass playlist (courtesy of Isabella) and collected the best of the photos we took in Austin. So, let’s take one last look back on the week before we set our countdown clocks for next year.


Pearl and the Beard

Saturday at Papi Tinos, when Pearl and the Band asked the event’s stage manager how many more songs they had left to play, he replied, “You’re the best act I’ve seen all week. You can play for as long as you want!” The crowd, myself included, couldn’t have been more excited. What followed were several more songs, each one more impassioned than the next, culminating in a trip out into the crowd for “Douglas” and an extended version of “Volcano”. Those last few tunes felt like borrowed time, and absolutely no one in the audience wanted their extraordinary set to end. — Lauren McKinney


While every set at Uncorked on Friday was something special, my highlight was the absolutely spectacular ON AND ON. Their lovely, understated pop harmonics fit beautifully in the backyard of our favorite Austin wine bar, and their sound seemed to fill up the whole skyline. It was a moment of calm among friends with one of our favorite bands. — Hannah Angst

Mikhael Paskalev

I had a hunch going into SXSW that Mikhael Paskalev would be one of my favorite artists of the week, but his set at The Beehive exceeded every expectation I had. The Norwegian jive rocker might only have a handful of tracks available, but he completely captivated the packed crowd at Uncorked with a short-but-sweet set. His debut release is coming later this year via Mom + Pop Records, so be sure to watch out for this rising star. — Eric Weiner

Palma Violets

The buzz on this UK group has been building for a while, and their many sets over the week proved it wasn’t all talk. With a mix of pure rock swagger (in The Clash kind of way, not the Bieber kind of way) and some seriously catchy songs, Plama Violets were easily one of the most entertaining bands I saw the whole week. — Hannah Angst

Parquet Courts

There’s just something about a guy creating killer feedback with his guitar makes me positively weak in the knees — let’s just say, Parquet Courts had me falling all over myself. I was only able to catch their very last showcase late Saturday night, and they still screamed and thrashed like it was day one of the festival. The highlight came when they played their brilliantly laid-back track “Stoned and Starving”, adding on some feedback that, well, will have my ears bleeding for weeks. Needless to say, they’re probably one of my new favorites. — Hannah Angst


Particularly with SXSW’s standard of minimal sound checks and questionable sound systems, the well-produced and lush pop of bands like Vacationer can be mis-represented and lost in the shuffle. To my overjoyed surprise, though, their performance was nothing short of dialed-in and fantastic. The samples and arrangements featured on the album translated extremely well in a live environment, and the crowd was more than willing to celebrate with some well-deserved dancing at the front of the stage. I can’t imagine a better band to represent the carefree atmosphere and beautiful weather in Austin. — Lauren McKinney

Autre Ne Veut

My most anticipated set of the whole week was Autre Ne Veut. After falling head over heels for his new LP, Anxiety, and hearing how engaging he was live, I had high expectations to say the least. Even in the 3pm sunlight and upper 80s heat, he still put on one of the best sets of the festival. Singer Arthur Ashins’ voice filled up the outdoor venue and made even the most lethargic festival-goer feel the immediate need to groove. — Hannah Angst


Los Angeles group PAPA have been on our radar since the release of their 2011 EP, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find. Not until their set at The Side Bar on Wednesday, though, was I 100% sold on them. These guys played a batch of songs that rivaled anyone I saw all week, and I definitely wasn’t the only one to notice. Watch them get snatched up for a huge release in the next few months. — Eric Weiner

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis may have over-saturated SXSW with their somewhat long list of performances, but none of their fans seemed to mind. Blowing up stages with Ryan Lewis’ amazing music and Macklemore’s sick vocals, the two turned the energy up to 11 and kept it there for the duration of the festival. While they may not have been my absolute favorite act in attendance, I couldn’t deny their amazing chemistry, the incredible rapport they had with their audience and how captivating they were on stage. Bottom line, I had a damn good time! — Lauren McKinney

Wildcat! Wildcat!

As the very first band to play our BANNERS party at The Side Bar on Wednesday, Wildcat! Wildcat! was dealt a relatively tough spot in the lineup. Despite this, they managed to get people into the venue and rocking just after noon (which in SXSW hours is the equivalent of 8am). Their set was more impressive than even my high expectations, playing the two singles they’ve released, as well as a slew of other gems.  Watch out for this band. — Eric Weiner


Okay, we’re definitely very biased here, but our #1 highlight of SXSW was our Friday event, The Beehive, which we hosted along with Paper Garden Records and KOHLER (they have a new showerhead with a freaking bluetooth speaker in it!). Sets by Mikhael Paskalev, ON AN ONYou Won’t, ConveyorPearl and the Beard, The Last Bison, High Highs, Doe Paoro, Little Tybee, and Pree blew my mind.  You better be at The Beehive in 2014! — Eric Weiner