The night continued on for me at Beerland, where I saw another San Fransisco band, Baths. Their more mellow rock sounded a bit to my ears like how the Velvet Underground would’ve turned out if Sterling Morrison was the front man—okay enough, but nothing too inspiring. I found myself much more into Cheap Time, whose blistering punk knocked me out for the second time at the festival. The trio’s songs come at you rapid fire, Ramones-style, and this set secured their spot among my favorite groups of the week.
Moving south on Red River, I stopped into Barbarella to check out Abe Vigoda (the band), which has been advertised as arty punk, but which I’d never actually gotten the chance to witness in person. They came off as a more electric Vampire Weekend. While their hearts seemed into it, mine certainly wasn’t, and I moved back to Red 7’s patio to witness a J Mascis solo set, which was much more my speed. Mascis seemed a bit more deliberate than usual—maybe it was the now near-freezing temperature—but he still delivered a solid, but brief set, which included a decent amount of his trademark guitar pyrotechnics and memorable renditions of “Little Fury Things” and “The Wagon.”
From there, I moved inside Red 7 for a much-anticipated set by the Fresh & Onlys (pictured above), whose psychedelic pop did not disappoint. It was a bit weird that I kept semi-unintentionally running into San Fransisco bands Saturday night, but, regardless, these guys were the best, delivering compelling guitar-rock that had me wishing the night wasn’t drawing to a close. When their set ended much too early for me, I was fortunate to stumble into the last few songs of North Carolina stoner metal purveyors Weedeater, who had the crowd in Encore ready to tear the place apart. As I stood in the middle of the bass-heavy, sludgy madness, under a steady rain of beer falling down from flying PBR cans, I remembered once again why SXSW is one of the best four-day spans of the year—while you’re not going to catch every band on your list, you can still see a little bit of everything by the end.