Friday, November 7
1:10pm - Black Stage - Peelander-Z
Peelander-Z puts on the most insane show possible. The Japanese punk band is renown for this and have been for fifteen years now. Thus, the anything goes ideals are ratcheted up even more with this group that may have changed personnel over the years, but they never changed their flavor of crazy. This is one of those bucket list sets, one of those acts you need to see at least once in life or feel some hole in your soul until you do so. Best get on that.
4:15pm - Blue Stage - Run the Jewels
The duo of El-P and Killer Mike released the most talked about hip-hop album of the year about a week ago, Run the Jewels 2 (the previous title holder was Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's Piñata which, would you look at that, the pair are featuring Sunday at 4:50pm at Blue Stage). Everybody's talking about it. It's dominated all the social networks and music blogs. It's already being remixed into a cat version. This set is sure to be one of those super cool, kinda buzzy because attendance is practically mandatory for 2014 music nerd cred, but totally worth it kind of sets.
4:00pm - Yellow Stage - John Waters
If you have the chance to hear John Waters speak, do so. If he's talking in a tent at Auditorium Shores that is certain to fill up quickly and get funky with body heat, you be there. If you see some thin man with an interestingly shaped eyes as though they were inherited from Don Knotts hitchhiking on the side of the road, as he is prone to do and certainly did last summer, you give that man a ride and listen to whatever he says. If the famous counter-cultural figure/writer/director/humorist is anywhere on television randomly, you're best served to tune in. So do yourself a favor and save yourself a patch of grass at the Yellow Stage tent Friday afternoon.
6:35pm - Black Stage - Death from Above 1979
When this dance-punk duo last played Austin during 2011's SXSW, they were reuniting for the first time in a half decade. They packed the old Beauty Bar and a riot broke out. Now they're back for sure with a new album, The Physical World. They're touring in earnest. There are fewer riots now. They're still pretty epic, though there could be a little overstatement in there (I mean, the chance of riots at their Friday evening Black Stage set is much lower, accuracy has to count for something).
8:30pm - Orange Stage - Alt-J
Alt-J doesn't sound like other bands. Their lead singer, Joe Newman, has a voice like an overly insistent, braying songbird on a hungover Saturday morning. Their compositions turn at weird corners in regard to chords and time. They sound just plain weird. They're also masters at wielding their weirdness into a pop sensibility that has served them well in their English homeland and is doing the same here. 2012's An Awesome Wave was all over many end-of-year favorite album lists and their latest album, This is All Yours, keeps in the same pocket and digs its heels in. Hey, the braying songbird on a hungover Saturday morning can sound pretty cool if you're more in the "still drunk" column than the "hungover" column.