This year's edition of annual music industry showcase SXSW kicks off in Austin, Texas this week and, while it's primarily about the next generation of bands and artists, there's loads of big names that'll be making the news. Here's 10 things that everyone's bound to be talking about between guzzling margaritas and chowing down on BBQ.
UPDATE: Jay Z and Kanye West also will perform together at SXSW on Wednesday March 12
Coldplay preview new material...
Recently, Chris Martin’s Coldplay dropped a surprise new track, ‘Midnight’. Produced by Jon Hopkins, it hints at a cooler, more electronic approach to their forthcoming new album, ‘Ghost Stories’, due for release on May 19. SXSW should be the first chance to hear more from that record; the band are playing an iTunes Festival gig out in Austin, which will be live-streamed across the world so even if you’re not in Texas, you don’t have to worry about missing out.
... And so does Julian Casablancas
Last week, The Strokes frontman shared a video teaser for his new solo album. It prompted a few questions for us and, come next Saturday (March 15), he should be answering at least one or two. His new backing band The Voidz will likely join him, revealing their identities, while it seems inevitable he’ll play some fresh tracks in between material taken from his 2009 debut ‘Phrazes For The Young’.
Lady Gaga is this year’s Keynote speaker
Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen and the late Lou Reed have all taken a break from playing music to speak at SXSW and, this year, Lady Gaga will join that list. We don't know what she'll talk about yet but, as one of music’s more eccentric characters, it’s bound to be interesting. The night before, the singer will perform an intimate gig at the Stubb’s venue.
Meanwhile, Jarvis Cocker will be on hand to help out songwriters
The Pulp frontman is one of the finest lyricists of modern British music and he'll be offering songwriting tips at a SXSW lecture on Wednesday, using his own lyrics to show his development as a musician, explaining the “meaning of artistic vision” and giving advice to budding stars. Sounds like one lecture you’ll want to take notes at.
Jungle will be a must-see band
Sure, we still don’t know what Jungle actually look like (think the pictures you’ve seen are actually them? Think again) but they’re shaping up to be one of the most talked about bands of the festival if the rabid reaction to their recent shows in the UK is anything to go by. The whole enigmatic schtick might be a bit tiresome these days but when you’ve got the tunes to back it up - just check out Jungle’s latest single 'Busy Earnin'- you can almost get away with it. We’d suggest getting in the queue for their Austin shows now.
Green Day's side project will play
The Californian punks formed their garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs in 2007 and released their debut album 'Stop Drop And Roll' the following year. They played under the name at a secret show in Oakland, California last year and now they've promised to do a two hour set at SXSW. Expect songs from their one and only LP plus tracks from Green Day's 2012 record, '¡Dos!'.
50 Cent's comeback
It’s been five years since the rapper released any music but he’s set to make his comeback this year with new record ‘Animal Ambition’, due June 3. What better place to preview his new tracks? 50 Cent should have plenty of material to choose from too – he’s also got another LP, ‘Street King Immortal’, done and dusted although he’s yet to confirm any concrete details about that record.
Kelis’ food truck
As well as playing a show at the festival, Kelis will be previewing her new album ‘Food’ by serving up dishes from her very own food truck during the event. On the menu, she’s promising jerk ribs (obviously), duck confit sliders, shredded beef and wild cherry BBQ sauce and coleslaw. Sadly, it doesn’t look like milkshake's on the menu.Trick well and truly missed.
Fat White Family take their riotous live show to the US for the first time
Another band bound to be causing a stir at SXSW is Radar Award winners Fat White Family. They had to sell their services to get themselves over the Atlantic (they raised money via PledgeMusic, offering massages, meals and private gigs in return for cash) so expect them to make that hard work worthwhile. Just how America will react to their sleazy, ramshackle punk remains to be seen but we’d bet our houses on them starting some sort of controversy.
Music films screened for the first time
SXSW isn't just about music - there's film and technology portions to the festival too. Bands and cinema collide for some of it though, with some hotly anticipated music flicks showing in Austin. Festival-goers will be able to catch the premiere of 'Pulp', a documentary about Pulp, and A$AP Rocky's SVDDXNLY film, while the long-delayed André 3000-starring Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side is also screening.