Kendrick Lamar

Friday I made my first big rookie mistake while attending SXSW, which isn’t bad considering that by then I’d been running around Austin for two whole days: I showed up early at an out-of-the-way unofficial daylong party organized by music site Tiny Mix Tapes and experimental label Northern Spy. For some reason I got it in my head that it started at noon, but considering it was at an underground space—specifically a warehouse that used to be a sex-toy factory—I really should’ve known better. I’d say my face was red, but that didn’t happen till I got sunburned a few hours later (another newbie error).

I’d been attracted to the event because of YYU, a producer whose dreamy, stuttering sample-based tunes have sometimes been grouped under the vaporwave umbrella; I knew that wouldn’t happen, given that a couple days previous YYU was scheduled for midnight, but I still wanted to check out the way-off-the-beaten-path event. After standing about awkwardly and admiring the enormous and mostly empty space, I took off—I did have schedule to follow. Next I’d hoped to see an unofficial showcase curated by Topshelf and Count Your Lucky Stars—two indie labels that have helped foster the current class of underground emo bands—and it was so out of the way that it was actually fairly close to the previous event. That said, I just ended up repeating my mistake: I got to the venue, a kickboxing school, long before anyone else had bothered to show up.

Fortunately the day improved from there, and I got to catch three great sets: Illinois power-pop group Shoes, formerly local one-woman synth-pop act Fielded, and a rapper who probably didn’t need to play SXSW, Kendrick Lamar.