Thus far I'd been pretty meticulous in my planning—I wanted to see three or maybe five great new bands a day rather than 12 or 20 whose quality I couldn't be sure of, and I wanted to avoid the overreported blog hypes. That anyone is bothering to see the XX at SXSW, in a church or on a bridge or in any sort of "neat" venue, after multiple tours and U.S. festival appearances that were reported to be across-the-board stiff and boring, boggles my brain—especially because there are dozens of bands you can see who never tour the States, and even more baby bands who are so anxious to prove themselves they're burning stages down.
Anyhow, at about 7 PM Friday night, I got derailed. I followed a couple New York-based rock critics (who shall remain nameless) to see some second-string Pitchfork faves (who shall also remain nameless), and I saw badness. It threw off my schedule and I sought solace at the Biz 3 showcase. I was an hour early for a set by rap's new savior, the mix-tape king out of Gary, Indiana, Freddie Gibbs.
In the interim, I caught sorta-locals Salem. The night before I'd heard about their Wednesday show—my friends reported seeing them at 1:30 in the morning and feeling scared to share a barely populated room with the band, who were apparently just playing around, stepping over the girl who was passed out facedown on the stage. Their Biz 3 show was not scary. I felt like I was watching the Oxy-dealing dude from my rural Indiana cousin's graduation party have a "rap cipher." Also, the onstage decor consisted of a live woman chain smoking and a low-power fog machine.