Friday of SXSW is always chaotic. But on top of the usual madness of the festival, St. Patrick’s Day revelers and spring break kids filled 6th Street even more this year. Still, we braved the insanity of downtown to catch as many bands as we could, while the rest of the Paste and Daytrotter crew filmed sessions with everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to Hanson (yes, really). Take a look here.
Check out some photos from Friday in the gallery, and read about some of the highlights below. Stay tuned for our continued coverage throughout the weekend.
When we declared Chastity Belt to be the Best of What’s Next back in 2015, writer Alexa Carrasco described their sound as, “chill, yet hard-hitting.” That was exactly what we needed to hear during the Seattle trio’s late-afternoon set on Friday at Mohawk to keep us from hitting that midday wall. Luckily, Chastity Belt rocked it and helped us catch our second wind. —Bonnie Stiernberg
We were pretty stoked to see the L.A. punk band, based on its stellar Apocalipstick. But after performing opening track “Told You I’d Be With The Guys,” Cherry Glazerr’s set was a bit of a disappointment. The band was often abrasive, and their whole punk-ambivalence shtick was more annoying than funny. “This is a KISS song, covered by The Melvins and now covered by us…The Dixie Chicks,” frontwoman Clementine Creevy yelled. I get it, they grew up on punk, but this performance was simply devoid of the magic of the well-produced album in favor of antics that just didn’t land. —Adrian Spinelli
Spending an evening at the wonderfully chaotic Hotel Vegas complex should belong on your SXSW bucket list. Five stages are spread out through the massive indoor/outdoor space in East Austin with bars everywhere and a helluva lot of people. On Friday night alone, I caught Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (who ruled, again.), along with sets from Dude York, Alex Cameron and a stellar performance from Puerto Rico’s AJ Dávila backed by The Crocodiles. And this doesn’t even mention the slew of other bands I watched for short periods of time over Lone Stars and conversations with both old and new friends. Shouts out to Hotel Vegas. —Adrian Spinelli
Every SXSW, there seems to be one band that I can’t stop hearing about, and this year that honor goes to Hoops—it feels like everyone I’ve run into this week has listed them among their favorite sets. Friday night, I finally got to see what all the hype was about at Cheer Up Charlie’s. The indie-pop four-piece didn’t disappoint, serving up slick guitar lines and a welcome reminder as to why their self-titled EP made our list of last year’s best. Their full-length debut, Routines, is out in May, and it can’t come soon enough. —Bonnie Stiernberg
Lizzo’s Pitchfork set was nothing short of a celebration of femininity and body positivity. The Minneapolis rapper was flanked by two dancers for the entirety of her bounce rap set and there were more smiles in the crowd than just about any set I saw all week. But for all the party jams (“This one’s for Mike Pence!” Lizzo shouted), the best moment of the set was was when Lizzo emotionally dedicated a song to her father on the fifth anniversary of his death. Fighting back tears, she said, “Sometimes this shit is hard but I see all you people out here and remember why I do this.” Lizzo is an impassioned performer and managed to get everyone in attendance to appreciate themselves while dancing in the grass of the vast French Legation lawn. —Adrian Spinelli