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THUMP's Official Guide to The Best Parties at SXSW 2016

We’ve collected all the most exciting shows and parties in one place so you don’t have to.
Photo by Jasmine Safaeian

With your sanity in mind, THUMP decided to make things a little easier for you by compiling a little list of the parties we're most excited about this year.

1. Teklife Vs. NAAFI

Lao photographed by Maria Fernanda Molins.

Mexico city club music collective NAAFI has been in a bit of a combative mood these past few months. Back in December, they challenged the international, canon-challenging collective NON Worldwide to a brutal battle mix, and now they're set to take on some of the world's best footwork and juke producers at South by. Teklife Vs. NAAFI will be a three-on-three match, with Lao, Zutzut, and Mexican Jihad representing the former, and Tripletrain, DJ Taye, and DJ Paypal as the competition.


Barcelona, Tuesday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

2. LuckyMe Showcase

It's pretty much guaranteed that any show LuckyMe throws will be high energy and a lot of fun. But after wandering around a city you're most likely not very familiar with and getting jostled by strangers in crowded spaces all day, their straightforward brand of party-starting is bound to be just what the doctor ordered. For a special event celebrating the release of "Harlem Shake" producer Baauer's debut album Aa on Tuesday night, they've enlisted Edinburgh DJ and designer Eclair Fifi, Louisiana producer Suicideyear, and others. Don't miss it.

800 Congress, Tuesday at 8 pm, open to open to SXSW badge-holders.

3. SBTV Presents: Strictly British

UK grime and hip-hop mainstay SBTV will make its way to Austin for the very first time next week, and they've clearly pulled out all the stops for their Texas debut. Not only have they got "Shut Up" rising star Stormzy on the bill—probably the second most buzzed-about grime artist in America currently, after Skepta—but they've also managed to wrangle the Croydon collective Section Boyz, Boy Better Know-affiliate Frisco, club-tangential experimenter Mumdance, and more.

SXSW Main Event II, Wednesday at 8 pm, open to SXSW music badge-holders.

4. Amsterdam Dance Event Showcase

If you live in the states and follow dance music, you've probably dreamt once or twice of going to Amsterdam Dance Event, the annual five-day electronic music conference and festival. For those who can't easily hop on an international flight just for the sake of techno, their Austin showcase—co-presented with Amsterdam station Red Light Radio and Dutch festival Appelsap—will probably do just fine. Continuing their tradition of bringing some of Europe's best talent to the Lone Star State, they've got house and disco stalwart San Proper, British-Dutch singer Bea1991, and Amsterdam duo FS Green and Lion Kojo, aka PATTA Soundsystem, on deck for this one.

Plush, Wednesday night at 8 pm, Thursday at 8 pm, RSVP here and here.


5. Surefire Agency Showcase

Photo of UNiiQU3 courtesy of the artist

While listeners outside of the music industry might not be familiar with the PR companies repping artists behind the scenes, SxSW is a cool opportunity for those hardworking people to showcase their tastemaking power. Surefire is clearly taking advantage of the opportunity this year, bringing together the queen of Jersey club UNiiQU3, Footwork innovator DJ Earl, White Material artist DJ Richard, New Orleans pop star D∆WN, Brooklyn's Ricky Eat Acid, and more over the course of two days. This one's a special one.

The North Door, Wednesday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

Barcelona, Friday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

6. Third Man Records Showcase at Beerland

While we might not usually associate Jack White and his Third Man Records imprint with electronic music, their March 17 showcase features a couple acts that lean heavily on the kinds of synth experimentalism and textural manipulation we love. If that's your bag too, be sure to check out this event featuring the NY-based, DFA-signed no wavers Guerilla Toss and deranged noise veterans Wolf Eyes.

Beerland, Thursday at 7 pm, RSVP here.

7. Remezcla X Perreo Showcase

Perreo is one of NYC's most exciting club nights, launched by Remezcla in 2015 as a space to explore an international array of urban sounds, from reggaeton to trap and beyond. January saw the party head down to Mexico City for the first time, and now they're ready to take SXSW by storm. They've got Track Meet co-founder Ynfynyt Scroll, Puerto Rican rapper Audri Nix, Columbian collective El Freaky, and, again, our favorites, NAAFI on deck for this special Perreo event.

Swan Dive Patio, Friday at 8 pm, RSVP here.


8. Ninja Tune Showcase

Since 1991, acclaimed London label Ninja Tune has earned a reputation for capturing the moment's most exciting sounds instead of rigidly adhering to a single style. This approach has earned them impressive longevity, and the lineup for their SxSW showcase is a great example of their dedicated eclecticism. Bringing together Teklife-affiliate DJ Paypal, Detroit icon and Mahogani Music boss Moodymann, recent D∆WN collaborator Machinedrum, and the UK's Leon Vynehall, this party looks to be as star-studded as it is thoughtfully curated.

800 Congress, Friday at 8 pm, open to open to SXSW badge-holders.

9. OTS Showcase

Jlin photographed by William Glasspiegel

Portland-based booking agency OTS, an acronym for "On The Sly," has quietly yet assertively put together one of the most stacked lineups of the festival this year. On March 18 and 19, they'll be throwing showcases dedicated to "club" and "live" sounds, respectively. They've got Planet Mu's inimitable RP Boo headlining the bill on the first night, and the two-day event also features appearances from Chicago veteran DJ Clent, young footwork pioneer Jlin, GHE20G0TH1K-cosigned producer Santa Muerte, and a good handful more.

Plush, ATX, Friday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

Valhalla, Saturday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

10. BiblioTECHA

San-Antonio based DJ Puppy Butt, aka Henry Rodriguez, is an exciting young DJ in Texas, and after spending time with this recording of his 2015 SxSW performance, we knew we had to see if he had plans for this year's edition. Sure enough, the Latinx party co-founder does, and here we've got the lowdown on the collective's BiblioTECHA let-out, which looks terrific. It will be held at Austin's ATM Gallery, and promises to be "a mixed multi-genre party with no rules," as the artist explained to THUMP via email. Along with Rodriguez himself, featured artists include Austin's Adzua-Gette and San Antonio's BITTER_TEEN.

ATM Gallery, Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1am, no RSVP.

11. #FEELINGS Showcase

Austin DJ Ben Aqua and his label #FEELINGS have a pretty good track record when it comes to Texan electronic music, having released the debut EPs from two of today's most exciting producers, way before the buzz: Houston's Rabit and Berlin's Lotic. If you want to see what they've got up their sleeve in 2016, be sure to catch them on their home turf on March 19, when they bring together label affiliates like Supraman and Creep$ide, San Antonio vogue crew House of KENZO and, of course, Mr. Aqua himself.

Barcelona, Saturday at 8 pm, RSVP here.

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