Howdy from Austin, where it is not only the last (full) day of SXSW, but also Saturday, and also St. Patrick’s Day. These factors together have combined to create lines the likes of which this reporter has never seen, and sightlines so abysmal I might as well be watching from Dallas. (Hello, the Walkmen! You sound good from the end of this hallway!) But if I’ve never said this before, now is the time: God bless Beerland, where I’ve walked in and grabbed not only a barstool, but all the free wireless a girl could ask for, and a punk hoedown courtesy of the Goodnight Loving. If I sit here until 5:30, I get to see the Black Lips, who are high on my list of band cravings. Beerland, you are a friend to me.
Also a friend to me: The Kings of Leon, whose skinny legs rocked Stubb’s yesterday afternoon with the best set I’ve seen at this festival. Caleb Followill and his band of brothers tore into a sweaty, PBR-filled crowd with a vengeance that grew as the afternoon wore on and more and more people abandoned their beer in favor of jumping up and down. "I thought this was gonna be a s—ty crowd," Caleb said about halfway through, "but I was wrong." They closed with "Slow Night, So Long," and it seemed way too soon. I wanted more, more, more! I didn’t want to have to give my heart to another band right away! That’s the hardest part about this stupid festival: Just as you’re getting into something, the set ends, and you walk to or run to or stand in line for something else, and you never get to savor anything. It’s like wolfing down your barbecue, something else I’ve done plenty of lately. Damn unsatisfying.
In general, SXSW Friday could claim to be the day where everything reached a fevered pitch. You were in my pocket for all of it, PopWatchers, so won’t you come along now and see what you saw?