I was not at SXSW as press this year because going was a rather last minute decision but thanks to some kind strangers I got a kickass spot right up against the barrier. Future Islands opened, and I ended up loving them. I didn't realize they are based just an hour away from me in Baltimore! And I was most impressed with lead singer Samuel Herring's ability to dance and dance and dance and dance while singing for what was a pretty long set. They put on a fantastic, entertaining show.
I wish I had more to say about Future Islands honestly but even their show paled in comparison to the Flaming Lips. The Flaming Lips are known for their epic shows, and sure enough, this show had everything I ever wanted out of a show, plus a lot of stuff I didn't realize I wanted. For starters, there were giant dancing mushrooms and a giant dancing rainbow on stage for a majority of the show. They were later joined/replaced by two inch-worms wearing a crown (one of which wouldn't stay inflated) and a smiling sun.
The light show was overwhelming (in the best way) and there were shiny things dangling everywhere on stage - light ropes from the ceiling, confetti from frontman Wayne Coyne's microphone, neon fuzzy balls dangling from his... pants (which were also shiny)...
There were tons of giant balloons dropped from above into the audience, there was confetti that Coyne shot into the audience, and later in the show he literally got into a giant clear ball and rolled out into the audience.