I started my day on Friday like I do most days: by waking up. I quickly realized that I had been kissed by a cold; I rolled out of bed, and blew my nose with the feeling of defeat. I checked my e-mail, and there was a message from SXSW with a notification that “if you watch the news, we’re headed for Noah’s Ark so grab an umbrella.” I would not let any of this slow me down on my last day of SXSW.
In attempts to diversify my SXSW listening beyond rock, my friend Jess and I headed to the SPIN showcase at an all-outdoor venue. They had free Hamm’s, an extremely cheep beer that my friends drink every weekend, but Jess was still ecstatic about the opportunity. After Jess bopped over to the bar to help her self to Hamm’s we caught the end of Kate Boy’s set.
After Kate Boy, on the main stage was Earl Sweatshirt (above, top). The first five minutes of his set was nothing but his hype boy. Once he got started, the bass of his set was so heavy that it cleared my congestion. The rain began—it poured—and Courtney Barnett (above, bottom) played her set on the northern stage to a sea of ponchos. Some people got creative with their ways of keeping dry, placing random objects on top of their head or wrapping themselves in trash bags. Run the Jewels (below) were the last performers, and the bass made rain drops jump off people’s ponchos.
Wet and cold, Jess and I sought a place to spend some time warming up and drying off. Jess’s lips were purple and teeth were chattering. We were slightly embarrassed: being from Minnesota, we should have been able to take on wet 60-degree weather. I even had to buy a sweatshirt.
Alone and wet from the rain I stood outside the Dr. Martens SXSW showcase uncomfortable physically and mentally, waiting for the doors to open. There were two 40-something men talking about getting with women on Tinder, and how many girls they would have gotten with if they had cell phones in high school. There was no way to escape listening to this conversation.
Broncho—a band my friend recommended to me—started the show (above), and I wasn’t disappointed. I saw Twin Peaks (below, top), yet again; I guess I can’t seem to avoid these dudes. Obviously, they put on an amazing show. A woman who looked to be in her 50s named Anna (below, bottom) took a fondness to me. She also helped start a mosh pit during Twin Peaks’ set. I aspire to be her when I’m older.
Palma Violets (below, top) were on next. They had a rowdy set filled with stage dives from crowd members and the bassist. There were a few random dudes that jumped on stage to join the performance, and the band didn’t even seem to care—they embraced it. Cloud Nothings (below, bottom) closed out the show, with another rowdy crowd. I watched a man pick a physical fight with another photographer. I dipped out when things got too heated, and enjoyed the set from the back.
I felt like I finally got the hang of SXSW by the last day. I’m sad to depart: I definitely got a lot out of this experience, met plenty of interesting individuals, shot a lot of remarkable shows and found heaps of cool new artists. Austin, you were good to me. Minneapolis, I’ll see you in a quick 17-hour drive.
Bridget Bennett is a student at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.