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Oh, South by Southwest, you giant party animal, you.

The festival is not only overwhelming but also so huge it makes it near impossible to see every band you want, especially if you want to not only see old favourites, but also experience new acts, every buzz band in between and try to eat at Rachel Ray’s barbecue.

Here are my chicken scratch notes, transformed into a half-assed guide. As mentioned, it’s a massive fest, but should you want to meet up for a high-five and a taco, I’ll most likely be hitting up the following parties and barbecues in between running around to try and see some of the following bands.

The top 15 bands I hope to see (but will most likely be waiting in a line across town while they are on stage):

Trust
Father John Misty
King Tuff
Art of Fresh
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
The Drums
Grimes
Bob Mould
Nas
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Eleanor Friedberger
Justin Townes Earle
Jack White
Bonjay
Doldrums

The barbecues and day parties that I am hoping will provide me with great music and also free food:

Canadian Blast showcase and barbecue, March 14
Are you Canadian? So are most of the people at this barbecue. It’s a great way to kick off the festival, see some great Canadian acts and trade schedules with friends new and old. CBC Music will also be live broadcasting this concert.

This year check out Library Voices, Whitehorse (featuring Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet), Said the Whale, Zeus, Rich Aucoin and the Sheepdogs.

Paste SXSW showcase, March 15
Jesus and Mary Chain, Arkells and Titus Andronicus!? Yes, please!

Canada House, March 15-17
Canada House is where I feel at home among the festival craziness. From 12 to 6 p.m. every day, there is a lineup of fantastic bands of all genres performing. From Great Lake Swimmers to Hooded Fang, Cuff the Duke to Wintersleep, it’s all gold.

Third Man Records at SXSW (a.k.a. you should show up six hours early), March 16
It’ll be packed not only because it’s Jack White’s record label’s showcase, but the man himself is also performing, along with Karen Elson, Pujol, John Reilly and friends and more.

The A.V. Club day party, March 17
I love The A.V. Club and will basically go anywhere Andrew W.K. will be bleeding on his white pants. Happy St. Patty’s Day to me! Featuring White Rabbits,
the War On Drugs and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Hosted by Andrew W.K.

Mint Records and Olio Festival afternoon party, March 17
The Vancouver label and music fest together at last! I’ve renamed this showcase “the dance party with tacos and Nardwuar crowd surfing.” This party features Shout Out Out Out , Sun Wizard and the legendary Nardwuar the Human Serviette performing with Andrew W.K.!

Riot Act Media SXSW 2012 day party, March 15
I think it’s important to go to a party featuring a lot of bands that are new to you. Riot Act is a cool publicity firm out of Portland. I fell in love with one of the artists they represent, Sea of Bees, at their CMJ showcase, so I trust their curation. They also have Nashville’s the Ettes on the bill, and the Spinto Band, who I already give bonus points for their “Shit People At SXSW Don’t Say” video.

Sub Pop SXSW showcase, March 16
Legendary indie label, two stages and two of my must-see acts (King Tuff and Father John Misty). Done!

Related links: 

Mint Records website

Tom Jones and Jack White release limited edition single in Wales

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Lana Gay’s guide to SXSW

Oh, South by Southwest, you giant party animal, you. The festival is not only overwhelming but also…

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