SXSW For Free

Since I  didn’t think there were enough websites out there furiously compiling  every show happening everywhere in Austin in the next 2 weeks, I felt it was a good time to cull together the most popular free shows for anyone out there sans any credentials except a mild interest in sleep, an affection for alcohol, loud music, condescending clothes and constant cigarette smoke.

The below is a list of events that are free to anyone—some might need rsvps, most don’t. Some have cool free stuff like beer and vodka. Some charge you for water. But the music is always free! Also, there’s no set times listed, because I’m not a masochist.

Also, also: there is so much more than this going on. There are some kids out there posting–and updating–exhaustive lists of this crazy week. So let’s be happy for them! We are not like those kids. Below is a somewhat concise list of the bigger events I feel will make you happy, organized roughly by day, with some attention to the bands I’m looking forward to this year. Will you constantly crave more information about SXSW? Well, visit all these websites, they’re doing a good job:

Alrighty, let’s get started:

Saturday March 13 Present: The Big Digg
Who: The Walkmen, some other bands
Where: Stubbs
When: 7pm – midnight
How: Free, no rsvp

Monday March 15

Gowalla presents “The Tiki Room”
Where: Belmont
When: 9 pm – 11pm
How: Interactive Badge or found pass

Wednesday 17

Who: Superchunk, The XX, Surfer Blood, Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Where: La Zona Rosa
When: 12- 5pm.
How: Free, No RSVP


Terrorbird / Forcefield
Who: Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, The Rural Alberta Advantage
Where: Red 7
When: 12 – 6pm
How: Free no rsvp

Austinist / BMI / Woxy Gonna Gonna Get Down V
Who: Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, Small Black, Warpaint, Royal Bangs
Where: Mohawk
When: 12 – 6pm
How: Free no rsvp

This will be the big Wednesday show.

Thursday 18

In Sound / Saucony
Who: Liars, Vivian Girls, Small Black, Surfer Blood, others
Where: Club Deville
When: 12 – 6pm
How:  Free, No Rsvp

I’m sorry but Club Deville shows are the hippest around. And LIARS? AYFKM? This is probably their only show and they will be the most entertaining. Plus Saucony = free shoes. Mine lasted two years. Plus plus $3 bottomless beers. Long line will be long.

Threadless / Schubas
Who: Smith Westerns, Japandroids, Rural Alberta Advantage
Where: Yard Dog on S.Congress
When: 12pm-?
How: Free, no rsvps, Free beers

Consequence of Sound / Sled Island
Who:  Titus Andronicus, Surfer BLood, Royal Bangs, Rural Alberta Advantage
Where: The Compound
When:  12 – 7pm
How: Free, but get there early, this will get packed easy.

Billions / Ticketfly / Independence Beer
Who: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Bowerbirds
Where: Mohawk
When: 12 – 6
How: Free, no rsvp

Saucony presents
Who: No Age, Japandroids, Best Coast
Where: Red Fez
When: 1 – 6pm
How: RSVP only to or

Friday 19

Gorilla vs Bear
Who: Best Coast, The Sandwitches, Bitters, Memory Tapes
Where: Klub Krucial (I know, it’s like the K’s give it an air of class!)
When: 12 – 6:15
How: Free, no rsvp

My favorite music bloggers, period. GvB are tastemakers, as witnessed by this lineup. Everyone you see here will be a household name 8 months from now. This year, they’ve switched up the format, the day stuff is free, the night is more like a formal showcase, so.. wristbands.

Pitchfork @ Emos
Who: Washed Out, Memory Tapes, Japandroids, Best Coast, Dam-Funk, Local Natives, Neon Indian, list goes on
Where: Emos
When: 12 – 6 pm
How: Free yo, but, long line will be LONG.

OK, so, every highschool kid who is cooler than you is trying to get into this show. They have more energy than you, will sneak in if they have to, and will blow cigarette smoke in your face. Odds are there’s no free booze, (maybe some PBR) no one of age to crush on. Therefore, I am not missing this show!

AV Club
Who: Frightened Rabbit, Wooden Birds (Ex AmAnSet!), EWITFrench Resistance… Now (Art Brut),
Where: Mohawk
When: 12 – 6 pm
How: Free, but there’s some RSVP info you should check if you’re into free stuff.,38567/

Saturday 20

Rachel Ray’s Feedback
Who: No line up yet, follow “A couple days” they say.
Where: Stubbs
When: 11 – 4pm
How: Rsvp in the past, no updated info yet. Supposedly free drinks, free food

I know, it doesn’t make sense, but she throws a good party and her PR group seems to have good taste in music (The Hold Steady, Ra Ra Riot, Tokyo Police Club in ’09). Only downside is listening to her husbands excruciating band, and some momsy-moms who are into food. Upside is eating delectable amazingness.

Who: THE BLACK KEYS (their only show), Rye Rye!, Javelin, Dum Dum Girls
Where: Mohawk
When: 12 – 6
How: Free, no rsvp

This one’s worth it for the Black Keys alone.

Under the Radar Magazine
Who: SONDRE LERCHE, The Veils, Vivian Girls
Where: Klub Krucial (That class!)
When: 12 – 6 pm
How: Free, all ages

Fuggin Sondre Lerche. Time to get your Norwegian-ness on.

Domino Publishing
Who: YACHT, Frightened Rabbit
Where: French Legation
When:12 – 8pm
How: Free


Little Radio
Who: Warpaint, Dios, Here We Go Magic, Brazos
WHere: Red Eyed FLy
When: 12-6
How: Free, no rsvp, 21+

Paste Magazine
Who: Shearwater, Okkervil River
Where: Galaxy Room, 507 E 6th
When: 11:30 – 5:30
How: Free, RSVP might be necessary if they reach capacity.

Ok, both of these bands are from Austin, you can probably see them 4 or 5 times throughout the year, but it’s fun to see them at SXSW. Also, free Sierra Nevada until its gone.

Other Music Lawn Party
Who: The XX, Yellow Fever, Thurston Moore, Dam-Funk, Toro Y Moi, The Antlers
Where: The French Legation
When: Thurs and Fri, 1 – 6pm
How: Free, no rsvp

This is the best place to relax and see bands during SX. The grounds at the French Leg are perfect for navel gazing about nothing in particular and if the weather’s right, you won’t want to leave. This might be one of the best free shows this year. Ii can’t quite decide. BUT, no free booze or food. Small sacrifice.


Levi’s / FADER Fort
Who: The Drums, + every amazing act worth seeing and a few unique stops and surprises will play here
Where: Lot across from Progress Coffee
When: 1-ish – 10PMish daily
How: Register for their events mailings, probably a Fader wristband pickup, bout then free for the rest of the week. There will be long, long lines, and there will be short short lines.

Hands down, if you don’t go anywhere else,  this is the best place to hang out, people watch and get free everything (variety of drinks, magazine, jeans…)  and see the best free shows with the best sound during the entire week. No line up yet, but trust it will be phenomenal. The Drums are confirmed, so there’s that. Apparently, there’s also no RSVP link, instead register with their events mailing list for notification. Following is possibly a good idea.

Urban Outfitters
Who: Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Warpaint, Japandroids, Surfer Blood, Scanners, Dam-Funk, Memory Tapes
Where: Urban Outfitters, out back
When: 1 – 6:45pm
How: Free for every little boy and girl

OK, this throws a wrench in things. While this is a great spot to catch super intimate shows from a large majority of the “it” bands playing this year, the downside is it’s on the Drag away from all the action.


Filter Magazine / Dickies
Who: The Veils, Temper Trap, Dr. Dog, SHe & Him, Here We Go Magic, Broken Bells, Sondre Lerche
Where: Lustre Pearl
When: 3 – 12am Thus and Fri, 3 – 6pm on Sat.
How: RSVP:

Dickies and Filter try to bring the heat to Fader. The line up is stellar, but we’ll see. Lustre Pearl? Ok so 3000 people will want to get in, 500 will make it. Flyer mentions “limited afternoon RSVP”, which I think means at some point this is a badge or wristband only event. But it’s worth trying for Friday alone.

Filter Magazine @ Cedar Street
Who: Mike Snow, Minus the Bear, Local Natives, Frightened Rabbit
Where: Cedar Street
When: 11 – 5pm
How: RSVP + Badges, but you never know.

IHeartComix / Mad Decent

Who: Every ‘it’ dance/electronic group plus some dirty punk and the wu-ist Hip Hop. Here let me show you:

Major Lazer, The Walkmen, Diplo, Glass Candy, The Very Best, Rusko, The Toxic Avenger, Jack Beats, Kid Sister, Hudson Mohawk, Sleigh Bells, Yacht, GZA, Amanda Blank, Japanther, The Death Set, Dam Funk, Franki Chan, Acid Girls, Men, Ninjasonik, Juiceboxxx, Best Coast, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Jokers of the Scene, Maluca, Po Po, L-Vis 1990, Nadastrom, Moonrats, 12th Planet, Paul Devro, Wild Yaks, Royal Bangs, Bosco Delrey, Cubic Zirconia, Dr. Manhattan, Outasight

When: 12 – 8pm each day
Where: The grounds of the Mexican American Cultural Center
How: RSVP @ (currently down)


IFC (requires a wristband)
This guy is going the duration of sxsw (7 days) and has an amazing line-up:

Sterogum presents
BEN GIBBARD at the Parish @ 1pm Saturday
RSVP Only, starting March 8th, here:

Spune 2k10 Party: (3/20) @ J Black’s
Saturday 11:30 – 6pm
J Blacks – Bloody Mary Bar & Brunch, Pints & Pizzas, Fresh Salads & much more!
Tito’s Vodka – You know it and love it. Try mixing it with some Waialua soda.

A bunch of free liquor, but crappy bands. This is where you can get “refreshed” and greet your day with a smile!


Gorilla vs  Bear
Friday, Doors at 8
Who: AirWaves, Mountain Man
Where: Longbranch!
How: Free Free Free

My favorite bloggers and favorite dive bar unite.


I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t even care anymore:

Lose Control 2: (Multiple days) @ Vice
WHEN: March 17, 18, 19, 20 (12PM – 2AM everyday)


12th Planet
Admiral Radley
Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Baby Monster
Bang Bang Eche
Baron Van Luxxury
Black Box Revue
Body Language
Chiddy Bang
Class Actress
Crystal Fighters
The Crystal Method
Crystal Vision
Dances With White Girls
Delta Fiasco
Eli Smith
Everything, Everything
First Aid Kit
Free Magic
French Horn Rebellion
Grrrl Parts
Hey Champ
Hollywood Holt
Holy Ghost
Home Video
Hussle Club
Jen Lasher
Kids At The Bar
Kill The Noise
Light Pollution
Lucy and the Popsonics
Male Bonding
Megaphonic Thrift
MeLo- X
Michael Parallax
Mickey Factz
Midnight Conspiracy
Nice Nice
Nick Catchdubs
No Mathmatics
OK Deejays
Royal Bangs
Rural Alberta Advantage
Small Black
Solid Gold
Spleen United
Star Eyes
Steed Lord
Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
The Death Set
The Hood Internet
The Invisible
The Ruby Suns
Tommie Sunshine
Toro Y Moi
Trash Yourself
Treasure Fingers
Two Fresh
We Are Like The Spider
Yes Giantess
You Say Party! We Say Die!

WHAT: 56 hours of music and friends with 3 floors.
How: RSVP below for special laminate pickup on March 17 (12pm-2am) and priority line access.

Ok, that’s it for now. Might update might not.

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