Bloc Party, The Futureheads and GLC steal the show at the world’s biggest new bands festival…

Bloc Party, The Futureheads, Goldie Lookin Chain and Kaiser Chiefs led the British invasion at this year’s SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST festival, which wrapped up on Saturday in AUSTIN, TEXAS (March 19).

The world’s biggest new bands festival saw over 1,300 bands play at 60 venues across the city in just four days and was responsible last year for launching the careers of Willy Mason and The Dears.

Thursday (March 17) saw sterling performances from Kaiser Chiefs and The Futureheads at La Zona Rosa and LCD Soundsystem at Elysium.

Singer Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, who was on a walking stick after injuring his foot, told the packed out crowd: “You won’t believe what it means for us to be here… we’re just a bunch of idiots.”

Carrying on the British invasion, Kasabian, Bloc Party, Goldie Lookin Chain and Embrace all wowed the crowds across the city on the Friday (March 18).

Bloc Party and The Futureheads also got together on same bill for Spin magazine’s annual BBQ. The two bands were joined by Louis XIV and the New York Dolls who treated fans to the classics ’Looking For A Kiss’, ’Puss ‘n’ Boots’ and ’Personality Crisis’.

MTV2 threw a huge party at La Zona Rosa on Saturday night (March 19) with sets from Tom Vek, Hard Fi, The Magic Numbers, Nine Black Alps, Idlewild and Music.

Rumours were circulating the festival about a possible Blur reunion after Damon Albarn was spotted in the crowd at Queens Of The Stone Age’s set at Stubbs, though neither of the two would confirm whether they had spoken.

Queens Of The Stone Age surprised fans by playing a surprise gig in an aircraft hangar on Thursday (March 17) with support coming from The Bravery.

Singer Josh Homme opened up their set by announcing “Fuck the Eighties – we’re Queens Of The Stone Age” before preceding to rip through tracks from their new album ’Lullabies To Paralyze’.

The band had previously kicked off their world tour in Austin on Tuesday (March 15) and former bassist Nick Oliveri was seen checking the group out.

Following Homme’s onstage jibe, The Bravery also found their reception in Texas slightly cold, with bassist Mike D saying: “We drove over the border of Texas and the first car that drove by, the guy yelled out ‘Eat shit!’ So yeah, so far we’ve had a great reception.”

Coldplay’s Chris Martin and wife Gwyneth Paltrow were also spotted at the festival.

The Go! Team closed the festival on Saturday night (March 19) at Vice’s party keeping the crowds dancing until 4am in a location miles from downtown and Austin’s bar curfew.

For full coverage of this year’s SXSW festival and a free CD featuring the best new music from the event, be sure to get next week’s NME, due out nationwide on March 30.