Beginning this week, the music portion of the annual SXSW festival gets underway, meaning that an impossible number of showcases, performances, parties, and BBQs—both official and unofficial—are set to pop off. This year in particular, it seems that the historically indie-focused festival has snuck in more electronic-oriented events than usual. As such, we here at XLR8R have done our best to assess the week's many offerings in order to present the 10 most essential SXSW parties to hit whilst running around the clusterfuck of music, culture, art, food, and drink that is Austin, Texas during SXSW.
Body High Rooftop Party
Tuesday, March 12 at Speakeasy
412 Congress Ave. • 9 p.m. • Free w/RSVP
Samo Sound Boy's and Jerome LOL's Body High label looks likely to serve up one of the week's first highlights with its Tuesday night rooftop party. Both Samo and Jerome will be there, operating as DJ Dodger Stadium, while label regulars Myrryrs and the mysterious DJ Funeral will also serve as selectors throughout the night alongside a crew of the label's friends and associates. And, of course, Body High promises some "secret guests" will be, well, on top of the building before the party is through.
Gorilla vs. Bear and Yourstru.ly Showcase at the Hype Hotel
Wednesday, March 13 at Whitley
301 Brazos St. • Daytime • Free w/RSVP
Throughout the week, the Hype Hotel will be busy trying to assert itself as a hub for all things indie, but not without an effort to rope in a few electronic-music types along the way. The Gorilla vs. Bear- and Yourstru.ly-curated daytime party appears to do so best, with DJ sets from Jerome LOL and John Talabot on the bill next to live performances by the UK wunderkinds of Disclosure and SoCal beat alchemist Shlohmo. Sure, there's some questionable indie-rap/pop to get through in between, but we promise the payoff will be worth it.
Surefire Boat Party
Wednesday, March 13 at Capitol Cruises
208 Barton Springs Rd. • 12:45 p.m. • Ticket Required
In addition to its official showcase, the Surefire Agency will also be hosting a boat party that exclusively features B2B sets from jocks of a rather high caliber. To begin the day, XLR8R's own Nick Hook will team up with Brooklyn bad girl Jubilee, followed by kindred bass spirits Kingdom and Bok Bok together on the decks before Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum work side-by-side to bring the ship back to port. The event's Facebook page says the boat party is "sold out," but who knows, there still might be room for a few stowaways.
Resident Advisor Official SXSW Showcase
Wednesday, March 13 at Elysium
705 Red River St. • 12:45 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required, Limited Tickets at Door
For its Wednesday night showcase, Resident Advisor has put together one of SXSW's most solid line-ups. Budding outfits Archie Pelago, Huerco S., and Blue Hawaii will start the evening off while veterans Optimo, John Talabot, and Andy Stott round out the top of the roster. It's really hard to argue with a line-up like that.
Mixpak vs. Tormenta Tropical SXSW Showcase
Thursday, March 14 at The Kabaret Room at Speakeasy
412 Congress • 8 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required, Limited Tickets at Door
On Thursday, Mixpak and Bersa Discos will combine forces to bring a wide array of global riddims to SXSW. Sets from Mixpak boss Dre Skull, Dubbel Dutch, Brenmar, Toddla T, and veteran low-end specialist The Bug appear primed to make for a happening—albeit eclectic—dancefloor throughout the night.
CNTRL: Beyond EDM SXSW Special
Thursday, March 14 at Bungalow
92 Rainey St. • 7 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required, Limited Tickets at Door
Richie Hawtin's "educational" music and technology tour, CNTRL, will return to North America for a special one-off show at SXSW. Amongst the night's offerings, the most alluring appears to be the closing set featuring Hawtin himself and CNTRL co-founder Loco Dice teaming up behind the decks. Kicking off the night with DJ sets from Turbo boss Tiga and Canadian house supergroup Azari & III is not a bad look at all.
Icee Hot Official SXSW Showcase
Friday, March 15 at Barcelona
209 E. 6th St. • 8 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required, Limited Tickets at Door
For the second year, the members of San Francisco's Icee Hot crew have been asked to put together an official SXSW showcase, and given the group of artists they've assembled for Friday night, it's easy to see why. London duo Bicep is the night's official guest of honor, while South London Ordnance, Grown Folk, Turbo affiliate Nautiluss, and Unknown to the Unknown boss DJ Haus will provide quality tunes alongside Icee Hot residents Ghosts on Tape, Low Limit, and XLR8R's own Shawn Reynaldo.
Night Slugs ? Fade to Mind Official SXSW Showcase
Friday, March 15 at The Madison
307 West 5th St. • 8 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required
Transatlantic club-music allies Night Slugs and Fade to Mind are bringing out a good portion of their respective rosters for the labels' collaborative showcase in Austin. Representing the UK imprint will be label heads Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990, while the Fade to Mind crew will be heard across sets of adventurous club music from Kingdom, Nguzunguzu, Total Freedom, MikeQ, and Fatima Al Qadiri.
Percussion Lab Official SXSW Showcase
Friday, March 15 at Silhouette Lounge
718 N Congress Ave. • 8 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required
As if there was not enough to do already on SXSW's Friday night, Percussion Lab has also put together an official showcase that appears likely to leave dancers satisfied. Headlining the occasion will be Sepalcure, who will be preceeded by a night of heady dance music from Daedelus, Grenier, Archie Pelago, and Percussion Lab's own Braille.
Numbers Official SXSW Showcase
Saturday, March 15 at Barcelona
209 E. 6th St. • 8 p.m. • Badge/Wristband Required
The Numbers label has Saturday pretty much on lockdown as far as electronic music offerings go. The imprint has done its best to transplant its roster in Austin by bringing out the core of the Numbers crew, including Jackmaster, Spencer, Redinho, and—perhaps best of all—UK tunesmith Rustie to supply the tunes for the evening. Even better, Numbers has also enlisted Rinse FM stalwart Oneman to assist in the effort.