For those still fighting the good fight that is SXSW, Friday graciously offered some of the best events and shows so far.
Early during the day, Antone's had attendees rocking out to the sounds of artists LP and local up-and-comer Gary Clark Jr. LP's puffy hair and short, Bob Dylan-like stature had fans intrigued from the get-go, and when she opened her mouth is when things became rowdy. The girl can sing, but that's to be expected of a singer-songwriter who's written for the likes of Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. She immediately won over new listeners with her melodic riffs and dynamic arrangements. Gary Clark Jr. was a blues-rock beast. Strutting his stuff with the utmost confidence and swagger, Jr. let his guitar do all the talking as he wailed alongside his powerful band.
Progressive metal group I Wrestled a Bear Once were as ridiculous as their name suggests them to be. Their oddness works in their favor though; incorporating electro, synthpop and metal into their music, the band creates a musical monster that is terrifying at first, but wins you over after a few listens. The group performed outside at the MI Annex, causing a ruckus with their cacophonic guitars, and blood-curdling screams from vocalist Krysta Cameron.
The Austin Musical Hall served as a venue for nostalgia as rapper 50 Cent took the stage to perform his first album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', in its entirety. Although the artist has been busy preparing for his musical return with a fifth album scheduled for release later this year, 50 Cent treated fans to a once in a lifetime experience. Unsurprisingly, Eminem came onstage to perform alongside his protege early on during the set, but for the most part, the show was all 50's. From "In da Club," to "P.I.M.P.," the rapper had fans singing along, and having a good time.
The winner of the day's festivities though, would have to be 21st St. Co-op's South By South Mess. It was exhilarating, sweaty and unpredictable, the three things you normally expect to get out of a concert at the co-op. Local experimental rock group Zorch had fans in a daze as the duo performed in pure darkness; beads of neon green flickered over drummer Sam Shmu's drumset, his arms flailing like a dying octopus.
Maps and Atlases performed afterwards, and their set was nothing short of incredible. The band performed an assortment of songs from their discography, and ended with "Solid Ground." "Well I slept on, the solid ground, near your house," sang frontman Dave Davidson; fans sang along and moved to the groove at the intimate performance.