After three days of bands, bands, bands, the last day of SXSW is usually a good time to hang out with people you haven't had time to see and be a little more selective about which shows you attend, since you're usually about four bad songs away from swearing off live music forever. However, this year the final day of the festival is packed with lots of bands that are either exciting or potentially exciting, so I decide to spend most of the afternoon and evening on my own, hoping to see a few things that will blow my mind.

Saturday, March 17

2:15pm: I forget it's St. Patrick's Day until I get down to Sixth Street and see the sea of green, and suddenly I'm quite happy with myself for unintentionally wearing green shoes. I also suddenly realize that tonight might get insane, since the locals will finally be sharing some of the same space with SXSWers as they hunt down green beer and trouble. Inside Emo's, I've decided the hand stamps are more annoying than the bathrooms, since the restrooms aren't in the process of ruining my shirt. It's the Alternative Press party, so it's all emo, all day; New Years Day is on the outside stage and I'm enjoying it, but it's probably just because I find myself developing a huge crush on the singer. A writer friend says that another writer friend knows her, but I've got bands to see and I'm probably old enough to be her dad.

3:04pm: Standing in a huge line to get into the Fader Fort, I realize that I should have known better than to arrive at showtime to see the Damon Albarn-fronted The Good, The Bad & The Queen. From the outside, the band sounds good but not incredibly exciting (kind of like the album), and it's clear I'm never making it inside, so it's off to Filter's "High Noon At Cedar Street" event I go.

3:59pm: In the Cedar Street Courtyard, I see Rose Pipette walking around, and realize that if I hadn't bothered to stand in the line to see Damon, I probably could have seen The Pipettes. Strike two. Mando Diao are playing pretty catchy garage rock, but I can't wait for them to leave so I can see Mew.

5:47pm: Mew has just proven that it's the best thing since sliced bread with a set that mostly focuses on the epic-rock sweetness found on And The Glass Handed Kites. Mew is also ruining my ability to enjoy the garage-y stylings of The Fratellis, also known as That Band With The Song In The IPod Commercial. What they're doing just seems so pedestrian compared to the tower of sound created by Mew, though "Flathead" (the iPod song) is undeniably infectious.

8:01pm: On the Beauty Bar Patio, Orenda Fink of Azure Ray fame sounds less mysterious with her band Art In Manila than she did on her 2005 solo album. I'm happy to see Adrienne from The Anniversary doing something in no way related to the bad classic rock it pooped out on its swan song, but I've still got Mew on my mind…

9:22pm: At La Zona Rosa, I'm breaking my don't-see-any-band-twice rule as Mew is now creating its gorgeous soundscapes with a video in the background. Clearly I'm obsessed, since I've decided to leave the ridiculously small Beauty Bar Patio, where The Pipettes are on at 11…

10:31pm: After wading through all the potential St. Pat's troublemakers on Fourth Street, we make it back to the Beauty Bar, and sure enough, the line to get in is huge, and to top it all off, the alley smells like garbage and outhouses. Probably has something to with all those Dumpsters and outhouses. Tilly And The Wall look good but only sound half as good from outside the venue, and for some reason it doesn't appear they're interested in playing their best song, "Bad Education." If you haven't seen their performance on Letterman, YouTube it right now.

11:31pm: After being sure that I had missed my final chance to see Rose, I finally get back inside to see The Pipettes, whose throwback girl-group pop is even better live than it is on record. Probably has something to do with how incredibly attractive Rosay (that's what her necklace says, so I guess I'll stop calling her Rose) is, and how incredibly cute all the dancing is. No, this music isn't going to change your life, but it sure does make living a whole lot more fun.

1:01am: Instead of taking the advice of Rosie Thomas–who gave me a good-friends hug yesterday at Maggie Mae's after I told her how much I like her new record, even though it was the first time we'd ever spoken–and going to see the super-buzzed Midlake at Buffalo Billiards, I've just broken my don't-see-any-band-twice rule again by sticking around to see Tokyo Police Club, who don't sound anything like The Strokes this time around, and though I want to stay for Cursive, I choose to follow the Tag Team folks to the Blender party, where I'm about to see Tokyo Police Club for the third time.

5:15am: 5:15 a.m. isn't really a great time to be awake, which is why I'm headed back to the hotel. Good night and sleep tight, Austin, I hope to see you again next year.

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