SxSW Music Diary: Day 4

Big Boi and the hipster girls.
Mirissa Neff

Last day in Austin. The hot daytime ticket was the party at Mohawk. That meant getting there early and committing the entire afternoon... but the payoff was catching headliners TV on the Radio and Big Boi with just a few hundred other folks.

Austin's Okkervil River was playing the outdoor stage when I got there and then Brooklyn's Twin Shadow was playing inside. Even though they're on the 80s synth-pop bandwagon they manage to keep things fresh. TV on the Radio's SxSW shows officially put an end to their two year hiatus and previewed their highly anticipated upcoming album "Nine Types of Light."

Next up on the outdoor stage was Big Boi. Songs from his recent release had some traction, but whenever an OutKast song dropped the crowd became instantly lost their shit. He seemed unfazed by the shift in response and was just having a good time. A funny moment was when he invited a sea of hipster girls to the stage to shake it with his ATL crew.

That eve the rumor mill about surprise shows was alive and well. Kayne, Jay Z, and Justin Timberlake were breathily being mentioned around town. The conundrum became one of whether to chase those dragons or stick with what was confirmed. After briefly checking out the Red Bull Freestyle DJ contest I decided on the latter approach.

The globetrotting Nat Geo showcase at Habana Bar was stellar. I walked in as the legendary queen of Malian desert rock Khaira Arby was rocking the house. A protege of Ali Farka Toure, her voice remains a powerful beacon of Mali's enchanting soundscape even after decades on the scene.

Up next was Brooklyn's Sway Machinery and then Aussie roots-reggae group Blue King Brown. The space started to get really packed for the closing act of Austin's own Grupo Fantasma. The recent Grammy winning group marched the crowd through the paces of super tight cumbia, salsa, and funk grooves while experimenting with heavier psych rock influences. I enthusiastically made it through about half their set until my feet cried uncle. Call it SxSW Syndrome... the feet are the first to go.

I made my way through the sloppy 6th Street madness, dodging puddles of sick and teenage lotharios on the way to my bike and then home.