Unlike any other festival, South by Southwest is unique to everyone who attends. And I love that about this festival. With over 2,200 bands spread out over 100 venues and five days of music, everyone sees something different and walks away with different joys and discoveries. You could go to a Brooklyn Vegan showcase and spend the whole day in one place. You could search out only Latino bands, or metal bands, hip hop or blues. In fact, when the All Songs crew gathers to record our late night dispatches on the streets of Austin, Texas, we all share completely different joys.
Personally, I tend to graze, to show hop all day. I saw 80 bands during this week, a bit more than the 66 I saw last year. Frankly, most were pretty good (some of that is due to my methodical, maybe over-the-top planning, which includes listening to 1,500 plus songs and rating each one), though not every good show was transporting and not every transporting moment at SXSW happens when someone's playing music, as you'll see below. Here are my top moments of SXSW 2013 in chronological order, because ranking old favorites with new discoveries and listening to lectures and interviews seemed nuts. (You can see some of what's listed below — and lots more — at our SXSW hub, and listen to a playlist of songs by Bob's favorite SXSW bands at Spotify.)