Marie’s Best of SXSW 2011 Awards

by Marie Carney on March 23, 2011

Art vs Science = Happy Award Winners

This year I probably saw even less buzz bands than the average blogger than last year. My priority was to have a good time, whether that be hanging out with friends or watching great music. So this list is a testament to all the artists, people and venues that made my time in Austin memorable.

Best Fans in the Front Row – IAMDONALD (Donald Glover/Childish Gambino)

From the line outside to get in, to the people I was standing near at the front of the stage, the IAMDONALD show had the best fans. People were offering to let shorter people stand in front of them at the front of the stage and everyone was pleasantly chatting all the way up until the show began. Now, I heard in other parts of the venue there was a lot to be desired, but at the front of the stage was a happy little party which many of us then moved to Esther’s Follies to wait for his stand up act, which unfortunately was never to arrive (though we did get a phone call promising blow jobs.  If only I could remember the email address I’m supposed to write to…).

My new BFF's I'll never see again

Mr. Glover's too quick for my camera


Most Unexpectedly Awesome – The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles

It was a risk deciding to go in to the contemporary classical showcase on Friday night, but I was pretty sure I’d get some enjoyment out of it (despite the man at the door, what a condescending dick.  He should be fired.)  Though the first act I saw was an interesting, if not exciting, a capella trio, the second act ended up blowing my mind.  The MC for the evening said that they were classical musicians playing typical rock band instruments.  My curiosity was peaked and I stayed to be treated to some of the most original and interesting music I was to hear in Austin.  The group is made up of composers from Chicago and the instrumentation was drums, keyboards, saxophone, bass and vocals.  Frontman (or shall we say Artistic Director?) Ben Hjertmann’s strong and clear tenor was exactly what my ears needed, and the two pieces composed by him were standouts for sure.  At the end they said this was their first performance outside of Chicago and hopefully it won’t be their last.

From the back of the room I could only see three Mollycoddles

Sexiest Girl Group – Tie between Dum Dum Girls and Wild Flag

I love how these two bands were so different but seemed to create similar reactions from the crowd: desire and worship.  The Dum Dum Girls are dark and gothic sexy with a stotic performance style and haunting harmonies.  Wild Flag is four women who don’t seem to give a crap what they look like who rock out so hard and well that you can’t help but love them.  One is completely self-conscious, completely made up and overdone and the other is wild, yet understated with no make-up.  I still can’t tell you who I think is hotter, so I’ll just say both!

One of the Dum Dum Girls

Two Wild Flag's


Best Comedian – Tig Notaro

I saw Tig first at the Benson Interuption on Friday night where she managed to trick Doug Benson into switching places with her so that she was interrupting him from his gaudy green throne.  The next night at Esther’s Follies she made me laugh so hard I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to breathe again.  There’s just something about her slow build up into sheer ridiculousness that really got to me.  Though the fear of death from asphixiation was strong it was totally worth it.


Best Bars to Hang Out In – Clive/Bar 96/Chain Drive

I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but if you keep walking away from 6th street and past Ironworks Barbeque, near the Lustre Pearl are the chillest and nicest bars I’ve been in.  Clive has a great porch and really comfortable white leather chairs with peacocks.  Bar 96 has giant Jenga and an air-conditioned and clean bathroom while Chain Drive has a really fun bartender (ok, maybe it’s just that gay bars make me feel at home).  So when you need an hour or two to sit down and have a drink in piece just walk a little further than the Hilton lobby and have a much better experience.  And you might hear some good music too.

Happily drunken picture from the back porch of Chain Drive

Best Buskers – Supercute!

I might have given this award to Judgement Day out of Bay Area loyalty, but the fact is I never saw them on the street, but I saw Supercute a few times and they were always good for at least 10 minutes of smiles.  Of course, I’ve loved them ever since I saw them open for Kate Nash, so I am a little biased.  First off, they are dressed so cute in their homemade accesories and vintage outfits.  Then they do Led Zepplin covers on ukelele.  And they have a song about hula hooping.  How awesome is that? Plus when you give them money you can get a hairband or cd with a lollipop.  Supercute!

I want to hug them

The Band I Want to Be In – Hey Rosetta!

Hey Rosetta! has that orchestral indie-pop sound I love while on top of that they seem like super nice people (of course they do, they’re Canadian!).  If only they would let me stand to the side and sing background vocals while I play the cowbell, but they really don’t need me.  But I think they need another female in the band to keep the violinist company, I mean, she must get sick of all those boys, right?  They totally NEED me in the band…  I mean, there’s already six of them, what’s one more?  Or you know, they can keep making awesome music without me and I’ll keep listening.

Hey Rosetta! I'm pretty sure I can fit behind the strings

Best All-Around – Art vs Science

I saw them twice this year and both times they blew me, and the whole audience, away.  At a day show in the boiling afternoon sun they turned fifteen people milling about a back patio to fifty people dancing, sweating and getting sunbruned.  At 1 am that night they turned a free venue full of locals into the maddest dance party I was to experience this trip.  They brought an arena sized rock show to the tiny clubs of South by Southwest and I completely love them for it.  That and the drummer’s “Magic Fountain” was pretty awesome too.

The Magic Fountain

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Casey March 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

This whole article gave me a warm & fuzzy feeling. This is pure fun and makes me want to go to SXSW even more than I already do!


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