The annual SXSW festival took over Austin, Texas, again last week. The week-long shindig features the best new things from the worlds of film, technology and music, and is always a good place to spot upcoming bands among some surprise sets from legendary musicians. Here’s SXSW’s best moments.
Jack White played an extremely impromptu show in Texas last week, picking up an acoustic guitar outside the Third Man Rolling Records Store and treating the clued-up onlookers to Buddy Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ as well as The White Stripes’ ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’.
Godlike Genius Dave Grohl brought Foo Fighters to town for an unannounced show, playing at legendary outdoor venue Stubb’s. They also ran the first screenings of their forthcoming film Foo Fighters: Back And Forth.
2,000 performers play over 90 venues during SXSW. For full coverage from the event check out our dispatches over on the Radar section of the site.
The Kills used their SXSW set to showcase new tracks from their fourth studio album ‘Blood Pressures’ (due out next month) and kept the on-stage shenanigans to a minimum in favour of close-up intensity.
Brother were one of the most hyped bands of the week, and they used their showcase at the British Music Embassy to roll out the likes of ‘Darling Buds Of May’ and win over the gathered crowd.
American radio station NPR were in Austin all week, filming some selected performances. Check out their website for sets from Bright Eyes, Grouplove and more.
Snoop Dogg was joined by The Dogg Pound and Warren G for a heartfelt tribute to the recently-deceased Nate Dogg at his Funk N Soul Extravaganza show which culminated in a performance of the late singer’s biggest hit ‘Regulate’.
Duran Duran kicked off their latest world tour with an 80 minute set at Stubb’s in Austin, including numerous tracks from their Mark Ronson-produced 13th studio album ‘All You Need Is Now’.
The Strokes’ massively-oversubscribed show at SXSW was a chance for the band to air some songs from their fourth album ‘Angles’ for the first time. ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’ and the stupidly-named ‘Gratisfaction’ were among the newbies in a set that opened with ‘Last Nite’.
This week’s cover stars The Vaccines were among the troupe of highly-anticipated British bands that made the trek to Austin (Brother, Ellie Goulding and James Blake joined them), and they played a string of packed gigs.
Taylor Momsen and the other, less photogenic, members of The Pretty Reckless jetted into Austin for a show and to hang out with gossip king Perez Hilton.
OMD were joined on bass by Moby near the end of their Stubb’s show. He strummed along to ‘Souvenir’, a song he actually remixed back in 1998, and ‘Enola Gay’.
TV On The Radio opened their SXSW set with ‘Young Liars’, before launching into a frenetic version of ‘The Wrong Way’. Bass player Gerard Smith, who recently contracted lung cancer, was replaced by another musician.
Yoko Ono made her first ever appearance at SXSW last week, and took a variety of questions from the crowd. She revealed why it took so long to get The Beatles back catalogue on iTunes and argued that John Lennon would have been a fan of Twitter.
EMA is not only the Education Maintenance Allowance, it’s also the alter ego of folk starlet Erika Anderson, who treated crowds to a rendition of Robert Johnson’s ‘Kind Hearted Woman’ during her set.
Dry The River onstage at SXSW. Check out Jaimie Hodgson’s review of the festival for video footage of Wiz Khalifa, Wolf Gang and loads more.
While SXSW is all about the up-and-coming bands, some returning heroes always steal the show. Josh Homme and his crew revisited their self-titled debut album in its entirity.
Montreal’s Suuns brought the drone-riddled noise to a half empty venue at SXSW and won the award for Loudest Gig Of The Week.
If you wanted to narrow SXSW down to one key act, the one group whose hype outshone everyone else, it’d be LA rap collective Odd Future, whose mental show involved stage dives, flying blood and a half hour of violently misanthropic lyrics. Tyler, The Creator and his crew cemented themselves even more firmly into 2011’s conciousness.
Bright Eyes (aka Conor Oberst and band) provided an awesome two-hour show in Austin, complete with career-spanning tracks, fireworks at the end and some barbed references to the situation in Libya between songs.