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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Worst Moments from SXSW 2012

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Page 2 of 2

The Endless Parade of Technical Difficulties / Every venue Look: Here's indie-folk singer Sharon Van Etten playing at Mohawk with her vocals so submerged as to be inaudible! Here's Bay Area electronic soundscape-artist Tycho performing to a full crowd at Clive Bar through a P.A. with no sub-bass! Here's electro-noise duo Peaking Lights standing on the Red 7 stage in despair because they spent their entire set struggling to make, you know, sounds happen! Granted, there are always going to be problems at any event as huge and tightly scheduled at South By Southwest, but this year, it felt like every other set was marred by some kind of technical issue. It was routine to see artists spending their shows throwing up hand signals to their sound crew, only to get it right just as their timeslot was ending, or to play sets with crucial parts of the music inadudible through the house mix. The blame for this doesn't lie in any one place, of course: Londoners New Build made a point of saying that their soundman ran shows for LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip and thus knew a thing or two. Even after a barrage of gear-related frustrations, Dan Deacon graciously complimented his sound techs on their work, and implored his audience to thank them as well. (Deacon also gets the prize for making the funniest asides while sorting through the problems.) Still, with as large and expensive and corporate as SXSW has become, tech problems should be the exception, not -- as they seemed this year - the rule. -- Ian S. Port / SF Weekly

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Marco Torres
Lil Wayne, Austin Music Hall I saw a lot of great hip-hop at SXSW: Nas, Big K.R.I.T., Danny Brown, Moe Green, Flatbush Zombies, Austin's Kydd and Dallas' A.Dd+ and Sore Losers. SXSW should get credit, especially in the last few years hip-hop booker Matt Sonzala's been there, for giving the genre its own pocket where breakout stars can flourish and older acts can get a few reverent nods. I was excited for Lil Wayne's Thursday Young Money showcase, but his set left me feeling a little sticky in the gut, like when you drink Mountain Dew really fast. Oh yeah: Weezy just formed a partnership with the soda giant, and he's now their spokesman. Got it, saw the #DEWeezy fliers. But he turned his hour-long set, during which he often held a skateboard, into an opportunity to hawk Mountain Dew from every angle, even giving an uplifting monologue about how being a rock star and a skateboarder are the same thing: Sometimes you fall but you always get back up. Then he took a swig of Mountain Dew. Was Extreme Weezy filming a commercial and we were the extras? Yes, that actually was true. Between that and the Music Hall's head-in-a-trash-can sound, I felt a little #DEWped. - Audra Schroeder / Dallas Observer

Youth Lagoon - Hotel Vegas Because there are thousands of performers at SXSW, there is something to literally everyone's taste. And lots that isn't. Most of the time you can avoid something you don't like, but sometimes you can't. While working on another assignment, I happened upon Youth Lagoon Friday at the Brooklyn Vegan party on the Eastside's Hotel Vegas and quickly ran out of synonyms for "boring." It seems cruel to say it was the worst thing I saw last week, because singer-songwriter Trevor Powers is so young (22) and has struggled with anxiety. But from what I saw Friday, "navel-gazing" would have been putting it politely. I hope he changes my mind someday. -- Chris Gray / Houston Press

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