Allen at SXSW: Saturday Recap

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So… All good things come to an end. In this case, SXSW 2014 went out with a bang for me. Just when I thought that I had experienced a lot of what Austin had to offer for free venues, I went with Uni-Fi Records, Higher Education Records, Klassik, MC Mikal and Fresh Cut Collective to “An Open Affair”, a backyard house party with a stage located… somewhere in Austin. It was definitely unofficial, and reminded me a lot of the backyards at the Mifflin Street Block Party in Madison. There were hippies, a lady named “Red Riding Hood” selling edible “treats (with a wink)”, a food truck (genius move on their part) and most importantly, a lot of great hip hop from around the country.

As per usual, the Milwaukee guys nailed it, with strong sets from everybody previously mentioned. This was only the warm up, though, as Klassik and Higher Education (Moses & Sean Smart) got a packed crowd at the Dizzy Rooster on 6th Street jumping later that night. This was arguably the strongest show from both of them, complete with a crowd yelling for an encore from Klassik and Fresh Cut. Kudos to them both for developing such a strong live set to leave a crowd wanting more after a short amount of time.

The night finished out for me by heading to the Old School Bar & Grill on 6th for a Chicago heavy showcase, headlined by TDE’s Ab-Soul. Other Chicago standouts included The Boy Illinois, Show You Suck, and Lil Bibby,  who is quickly gaining a large following. Ab-Soul’s set was a party, packing the bar area. He’s definitely a name to watch this year, following a very successful 2013. This show was the perfect way for me to send off the previous week’s festivities. Well, it’s almost done, anyway. I’m writing this in O’Hare Airport in Chicago, awaiting my final flight to Milwaukee. I’m still up from the previous night. Because SXSW doesn’t end if you don’t go to sleep… right?

All in all, my first SXSW was an unreal experience. Thank you to Dima, Mammyth, SPEAK Easy and Dana Coppa from Uni-Fi, FLYE Gang, Xavier Ruffin, and the countless other people that helped make this happen this year. I’ll truly never forget it.