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Every year I look forward to the crowded streets, lineups, and the overflow of cheap booze that the annual South by Southwest film, interactive, and music festival affords. SXSW 2015 was no different as I hit 6th street on a Tuesday night for the commencement of music week hoping to discover what makes SXSW unique. Outside of the blaring sounds of cheering fans, blasting speakers, and honking horns there is so much to be seen and heard during SXSW. Upon my voyage I was abruptly intrigued by the meek yet bold and powerful voice belting from within the Mohawk one of Austin’s most unique music venues in which the House of Vans called home throughout the week. The soothing sounds led me inside to witness the emotionally charged performance of American folk singer Angel Olsen.

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Blending in the crowd I got acquainted with her fans who quickly brought me up to speed. Most comfortably performing alongside her band, Angel stood solo center stage as the spotlight gleamed on her guitar. Angel commanded the crowd’s attention as most sung along to the melodies from her latest release Burn Your Fire For No Witness. The St. Louis native won me over as her unwavering energy and folksy oratory continued her set uninterrupted until the wee hours of the morning.

Wednesday, I ventured over to Yahoo’s hotspot on Brazos and 4th for the #LoudPackSXSW showcase in which Yahoo Music and Atlantic Records seemingly managed to compile a roster jam packed with true stoners including Spenzo, Kap G, OT Genasis, Fat Trel, Curren$y, Kevin Gates, and Ty Dolla $ign. Midway through the show Wiz Khalifa made an appearance on stage with his laptop to set up and get acquainted with the space preoccupied by DJ Drama. The eager crowd including myself didn’t know what would come next but it was obvious it wouldn’t be your normal Taylor Gang experience. As Wiz greeted the crowd he explained that he was simply going to rock out and play some music from his personal playlist.

20150318_235651Slightly disappointed and inebriated from the open bar I went with it as Wiz played a host of songs from the Taylor Gang’s roster including Chevy Woods, Ty Dolla $ign, and Juicy J. Shortly after his set began the gang’s producer Ricky P accompanied Wiz on stage dancing rhythmically to 2 new tracks Wiz debuted “Rain” featuring PartyNextDoor and “Uber Driver’ featuring Curren$y in which he alluded would be on the upcoming mixtape entitled 2009, a follow-up to the rappers’ last collaboration. Passing out G-Pen’s to the crowd and even letting a few fans hit the loud Wiz’s thirty minute plus DJ set definitely proved to be more entertaining than previously expected.

No trip to Austin is complete without experiencing the creative flavor combinations and odd concoctions that keep Austin at the top of the food truck culture. The 6th and Waller food trailer park unlike the Rainey Food Truck Park is modest in size but home to some of Austin’s best kept secrets. Evil Weiner’s black truck positioned at the rear of the small space caught my attention immediately.

Looking for something I could digest on the go I opted for what I thought was a simple frank. The menu proved to be intimidating as the choice from seven different versions of the all-American hot dog made me hungrier. Eventually I settled on “The Cowboy” a jumbo beef hot dog dressed with smoked brisket, pickles, onions, shredded lettuce, and drenched in barbecue sauce and fries laced with the signature seasoning “evil dust. I chatted with owner Chef Roger who briefly shared with me his passion for revamping the American classic. “There are no limits and rules to our evil madness,” Roger stated. If my recommendation isn’t enough to have you racing down to the capital the truck has even gotten praises from world renowned chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain.

SXSW always leaves you full in more ways than one. As the streets of Austin return to its normal state with another year in the record books we anxiously await the arrival of the 2016 festival in anticipation of more memories, innovative experiences, and dope discoveries.

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