THE BLOG
03/16/2011 02:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

10 Free Must-See's at SXSW 2011

While there were more cool things at SXSW than I can even think to count, some things stand out more than others, and not all of them happen on stage. Here are my 10 must-see's at the the 25th Anniversary SXSW Fest.

1. A killer free concert. The Strokes at Auditorium Shores. The Strokes will return to SXSW on Thursday, March 17th to play the Auditorium Shores Stage (at Lady Bird Lake). The show will be free and open to the public, courtesy of the fine folks at Levi's, who will also provide footage of the show online one day after their performance. The New York five-piece rock-band return with their highly anticipated fourth album, Angles, to be released March 22nd via RCA in the US, and March 21st via Rough Trade in the UK. Angles is the band's first new release in 5 years, and their showcase will be their first return to SXSW since their now-legendary 2001 showcase at the Iron Cactus.

2. South Congress or "SoCo's" hugely popular Jo's Coffee Shop teams up every year with their neighbor, the Hotel San Jose and puts a great FREE parking lot shows together called South by San Jose. Recent acts include Billy Joe Shaver & Hayes Carll and this years event promises to be one of the best with acts ranging from Black Joe Lewis to The Complete Beatles on Ukelele showcase on 3/16 from 12 - 6 p.m.

3. When you're out and about during SXSW Music, don't forget to stop in at the IFC Crossroads House for some incredible performances, delicious pretzels, and more. Open daily at 12 p.m. from March 16th - 19th, the Crossroads House boasts a line-up that includes J. Mascis, K. Flay, Ivan and Alyosha, and Portugal. The Man, as well as interviews with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, musician Eric Power and animation artist Jeremy Messersmith. And on Friday night, the Crossroads House will feature extended hours, free drinks, and a special performance by Liz Phair with freecreditscore.com band The American Secrets opening the show at 8pm. For more info on the party, follow @FCSdotcom.

4. Now in its second year, the Gear Alley Expo has relocated and expanded to four days for SXSW® 2011! It's ground zero for guitars, keyboards, amps, effects pedals, mics, mixing software, DJ equipment, music education and ... music! Check out the cool daily gear giveaways, meet the gear pros, chill out in the Gear Alley Garage lounge and bar. And check out Speed Sets: short, down and dirty shows by official showcasing bands specially selected by our curating entities. And Invasion of the DJs sets, demonstrating the latest in DJ technology, every afternoon in the Gear Alley Garage. Last but not least, Steve Jones (from KROQ's Jonesy's Jukebox... and of the Sex Pistols!) will be interviewing bands in NXTM's cool airstream trailer studio.

5. Style X a new fashion event that celebrates the long-standing relationship between music and style. Style By: Emerging Fashion from Around the World will be a two-day showcase of what's next in fashion.

6. Another free concert. The Felice Brothers. The Felice Brothers – Bio Celebration, Florida out April 19, 2011 on Fat Possum '…what separates The Felices' mud-stomping folk from that of their peers is their no-winking honesty – the sense that these songs and the places and people they're singing about aren't literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness.' – Filter Good Music Guide, 2009 Here's what's already known about The Felice Brothers: they are a close-knit band of two brothers and three longtime friends, all in their twenties. They are self-taught, not one of them played an instrument prior to the band's inception in 2006 when they started busking in New York City subway stations. The Felice Brothers have released three full-length albums; their last, Yonder Is The Clock, on Team Love Records (2009). The majority of their work was recorded in a converted chicken coop in upstate New York near their hometown of Palenville. Esquire, Filter, The New York Times, NPR, Spin, Time Out New York, Uncut, and Under The Radar have praised them, among others.

7. Waterloo Records In Store Events include Trail of Dead, Meat Puppets, Black Joe Lewis and Fitz and the Tantrums.

8. Shark Attack & Parts and Labour on S.Congress. This place is amazing and it features work and merchandise from local Austin artists. Spend time in the Shark Attack print room and then stroll through the main room filled with cool odds and in's, screen printed t-shirts and more.

9. Okay Player's Free iTunes SXSW Playlist in celebration of the upcoming SXSW conference in Austin TX, iTunes has compiled over 20 songs available for FREE download featuring the likes of Kweli, Miguel, Strong Arm Steady, and a bunch more.

10. Mess With Texas Party Featuring: Odd Future, Surfer Blood, The Dodos, Ted Leo, Thee Oh Sees, Deer Tick, OFF!, Screaming Females, Strange Boys, Fresh & Onlys, Davila 666, Big Freedia, Lemuria, Dom, Esben & The Witch, Devin Therriault, The Growlers, We Barbarians, EMA
Why you should go: Odd Future comes in as one of the most hyped acts heading into SXSW. Beyond that, this is a garage rock fan's dream party.