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RS @ SXSW Essential Festival Coverage

48 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2014

From crystal-encrusted tour vans to nutbar protests to big stars on tiny stages
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Nicole Fara Silver

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BEST NEW COUNTRY-ROCKER (PUNK DIVISION): Lydia Loveless

Shots were already being downed when Loveless and her Columbus, Ohio crew hit the stage for this early-afternoon show — and the crowd was drinking, too. In a black and gold brocade-print dress, leather jacket and bowler hat (which soon flew off), the 23-year-old tore through a handful of songs from her new Bloodshot LP Something Else, a name-making country-rock set with more snarl than twang. "I wanna love you like a father loves a son," she sang on "Verlaine Shot Rimbaud," the album’s riff on the homicidal love affair between the fabled French poets, with her eyes closed, her guitars-and-pedal-steel band howling, and her pale face tilted up to the fierce Texas sun. It ends, and she flashes a Mona Lisa smirk, rewarding herself with a gulp of tequila and a suck of lime.

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