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50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2015

Fetty Wap’s one-song knockout, T-Pain’s triumphant comeback, Willie Nelson’s awesome tour bus and more

The Districts and Migos

The Districts and Migos

Kyle Dean Reinford; Theonepointeight

The South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, is filled with excess: thousands of shows, thousands of music fans, an uncountable number of plates of BBQ. If something at SXSW is worth doing, it's worth overdoing — a premise breakout star Courtney Barnett lived out by doing eight sets before flying home to Australia. This year, the festival dialed down a bit on superstar appearances — possibly out of safety concerns after last year's tragic hit-and-run deaths — but there was still plenty of must-see action. Our team of writers and photographers fanned out across the city, finding the very best Austin had to offer. Here are 50 of our highlights, from a surprise appearance by T-Pain to avocado fries.

Ultimate Painting

Theonepointeight

Best Space Odyssey: Ultimate Painting

The two guitarists in London's Ultimate Painting spun their sun-kissed psychedelia far out into the stars, landing on an astral plane where Velvet-y drone met Kinks-y melody. Best of all was the swirling, feedback-warped solo that closed out their set.

Linda Ortega

19 Mar 2015, Texas, USA --- 2015, annual,celebrities, concert, country music, family guests, farm, festival, gulf coast states, heartbreaker,live event, luck, music, music festival, musical performance, North America, performance, prominent persons, ranch, SXSW, Texas,heartbreaker banquet, USA, Lindi Ortega --- Image by © Suzanne Cordeiro/Corbis

Suzanne Cordeiro/Corbis

Best Modern Country Murder Ballad: Lindi Ortega’s “Murder of Crows”

Country singer Lindi Ortega (from Toronto by way of Nashville) updated the old tradition of the murder ballad during a fine set at the Continental Club, singing without remorse about burying her man in the backyard: "Everyone's asking me all over town, if he ran away or if he drowned."

Dolly Parton

guy with dolly parton airbrushed jacket outside of The mowhawk 3/18

Nicole Fara Silver

Best Jacket: Airbrushed Dolly Parton

This tough guy was on point with his clothing decisions, rocking a jacket with Dolly Parton's airbrushed face on the back. Sure, it might have been a little balmy for outerwear on Wednesday night in Austin, but any chance to wear this masterwork is worth minor discomfort.

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