Dear gods of SXSW, please accept Music associate editor Sophie Harris and writer Marley Lynch as Time Out's sacrificial offerings to you. We hope they please you.
And for you, dear reader, we offer their highlights from day one to feast on. Follow their trial by musical fire over on Twitter (@TimeOutNYMusic) and check back for more dispatches tomorrow.
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Sophie Harris's highlights from SXSW, day one
Best band: Night Beds. First gig of the first night, first goose bumps of SXSW.
Biggest surprise: Amanda Palmer at the feminist culture evening People of Letters. The "controversial" [cough] singer read a letter to her late stepbrother that had most in the crowd dabbing their eyes, affected by Palmer's unflinching honesty. "I know I was annoying," she said at one point, adding that she'd bought her first single to impress him—a metaphor for her life in general. Props, Ms. Palmer.
Most awkward moment: Neil Gaiman reading an imaginary letter to a porn mag from his 15-year old self at that same People of Letters soiree.
Worst moment: Arriving for The Very Best, seeing the stage packed with grinning audience members clutching the equally ecstatic, shirtless singer—and realizing it was the last song.
Best overheard: "Why does everyone here have earplugs? Do we need earplugs?"—Anxious-looking teenage girl at the Mohawk indoor stage before the first band had arrived. The answer: yes.
Marley Lynch's highlights from SXSW, day one
Best show: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's glorious closing set—especially when Talib Kweli joined the stage.
Biggest surprise: Realizing that Icona Pop is far from a one-hit wonder.
Worst moment: Going without dinner until 1am.
Best overheard: "Who's Action Bronson?" "This 300-pound Albino... Oh wait, I mean Albanian."