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Festival Review: SXSW 2014 Hot or Not

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Now that I’ve had some time to decompress and reflect on the 10 days of nonstop booze, food, technology, film, music, and everything else in between, it’s hard to decipher what was the best and what was a bust. This year an arm full of wristbands didn’t guarantee the time of your life. Let’s discuss what was hot (or not) at SXSW this year.

HOT: The Summit- I’ve become very impressed with the new facelift of the former Roial. A swanky rooftop venue nestled within the skyline, the changes have definitely given it a step up in the music scene. 12th planet brought the fire to a heater set on Monday night, creating a fine line between the crowd and the DJ booth. Liquor was flowing by the bottle, girls surfed the crowd on stranger’s shoulders, and it’s safe to say someone probably lost their job after several failed attempts to get the visuals going throughout the set, but in all it was definitely a party.

NOT: Illmore... or Less? I have always been an avid fan of the Illmore mansion, back in the day when it was more of an elaborate house party than an unofficial showcase. (I even once gave them a nice little write up.) Gone are those days. From mansion to millennium youth center, I wasn’t impressed by the stage being on a barricaded roller rink opposed to last year’s dance floor nearly caving in. Although there was enough sponsored Tito’s and Red Bull to inebriate every frat boy in a 10 mile radius, I’ll stick to a party that’s closer to home next year.

HOT: MTV Woodie Awards- If waiting in line for 2 ½ hours to see Iggy Azalea isn’t dedication then I don’t know what is. Having been a fan since her first single Pu$$y, I’m glad I finally got to see her live after all these years. Like a virgin, it was worth the wait. The 23-year-old Australian may appear fragile like a glass menagerie but her in-your-face rhymes will have you thinking twice. And if her music doesn’t tickle your fancy, her big booty will. Other awesome celebrity guest appears of the night included Lil Wayne, Danny Brown, Steve Aoki, Wiz Khalifa, and some band I’ve never heard of called the 1975 that was shockingly good.

NOT: Fader Fort, more like Fader Bore- What was once my go-to party of SXSW has become my boycott. Since when does exclusivity make an event fun? And how does a native Austinite who’s been the past five years in a row not get on the list? After the loops Fader and Converse made their fans jump this year to get an RSVP for this mediocre party is beyond me. I won’t even bother next year, that is if those East Side apartments being build next door will allow it. A better lineup would entice me more. (For real, JoJo?)

HOT: The Stone’s Throw Records party at the ND- What a way to wrap up the week. The party. It reminded of what this festival should be like. Good music on vinyl, not trendy artists sponsored by Doritos. Playing hit after funky hit on the records. No laptop DJ’s here. New artists for my ears to investigate, I was impressed that I've never heard of any of them before: Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam-Funk, J. Rocc, Prince Paul, Jonwayne, Knxwledge, and Pyramid Vritra. The party celebrated the release of the label’s new documentary “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton” that debuted during the film portion of SXSW and has received great reviews.

NOT: Lady Gag(a)- I really had to recheck Twitter after reading this headline: Lady Gaga had a woman throw up on her onstage while riding a mechanical pig singing her hit ‘Swine’ and calls it art? Girl, you and about every drunk girl at Trophy Room must be an artist then. But is it only art if the vomit is intentional? If I wasn't before, I'm officially over Lady Gaga.

Make it to one of these artists? What was your Hot or Not of SXSW? Who did you wish to see? Tweet me @the_kitSOLO!

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