In the second installment of glimpses through a glass, darkly, of the SXSW music fest, Time Out's correspondents are wowed by Nick Cave and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (the latter must be because we're New Yorkers), find examples of gender confusion and overabundant cacti, and don't believe the hype.
RECOMMENDED: All SXSW coverage
Sophie Harris's highlights from SXSW
Best band: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at Stubb's. Astonishing. No, really: astonishing.
"We're gonna play a long song to start with, and hopefully by the end it will be DARK" -- Nick Cave at Stubbs. Joy. - SH #SXSW— Time Out NY Music (@TimeOutNYMusic) March 14, 2013
Nick Cave dressed entirely in black, throwing shapes with his whole body like some kind of sexy crone... -SH #SXSW— Time Out NY Music (@TimeOutNYMusic) March 14, 2013
Best overheard: "Are you sure that's a dude?" at Foxygen's Hype Hotel gig.
Worst thing: The terrible sound at pop-up promo venue the Hype Hotel. At least they got the name right.
Sweetest moment: Arriving at St. David's Church to see Billy Bragg just as he started playing "Greetings to the New Brunette." [Editor's note: Guess what color hair Harris has.]
Biggest surprise: Seeing Sandra Bernhard chatting with pals in the church café.
Off-site discovery: Record label Daytrotter's sweet recording setup at Good Danny's home studio. We sat in on Josh Rouse's session yesterday; tune in to more live goodness today at this Daytrotter Web page.
Marley Lynch's highlights from SXSW
Best show: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the NPR showcase at Stubb's—an inimitable comeback that left everyone wanting more.
Worst moment: Chasing down Angel Haze at three different venues across town, only to find out she was scheduled to go on at the same time as Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Most awkward moment: Witnessing couples grind to lyrics like "Let's tessellate" by Alt-J.
Best overheard: "Living in Austin would be really cool. The only downside is that I keep walking into cacti."
Biggest surprise: Catching Youth Lagoon's mini set in a mini venue. The small space suited Trevor Powers's dysphoric pop—usually best enjoyed through headphones—to a tee. Thank you, Twitter, for clueing me into this show!
Best revivifying anthem: "Wut" by Le1f. Stumbled upon this catchy tune at 12:30am—an essential energy booster that kept me going until the end of the night.