Reporting Scott T. Sterling
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The annual South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, was rife with highlights last night (March 13), with a slew of big-name acts playing shows at clubs and industry showcases around town. Those not in Austin, fret not: The lines probably would have been too long to even get into these shows, so allow us to roll out the newsworthy bits thus far.
Hayley Williams (sporting theatrical make-up on one side of her face) and Paramore headlined the second night of the Warner Sound showcase in the Belmont Hotel courtyard. Hitting the stage after 1 a.m. local time, the band roared through a high-energy set packed with hits as well as new material from their forthcoming self-titled new album. Most notable was new song “Still Into You,” which features very personal lyrics from Williams regarding her longtime relationship with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert. She also announced onstage that the band would be filming the song’s production video during their time in Austin. On the heels of this performance, the band released a lyric video for the poppy, upbeat “Still Into You” today (March 14).
Preceding Paramore, Tegan and Sara performed at the same showcase, just one of the six gigs the sisters have lined up for this year’s SXSW. They leaned heavily on new album Heartthrob, but also rewarded longtime fans with older tunes like “Back in Your Head” and “Feel It In My Bones,” the song they recorded with Dutch EDM artist Tiesto.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (fronted by the freshly blond Karen O), returning to the music scene with new album Mosquito (due April 16), played at legendary Stubbs BBQ for their sole SXSW appearance this year. They whipped out new songs like “Subway” and current single “Sacrilege” alongside fan favorites “Maps,” “Gold Lion” and “Heads Will Roll.” Video of “Sacrilege” from last night is below.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar was all over town yesterday, making a surprise appearance at the FADER Fort as a special guest during Schoolboy Q’s set, which also featured an appearance by the inimitable Action Bronson. From there Lamar rushed over to the 1100 Warehouse to headline the packed Spotify showcase, performing songs from his breakout debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Lamar also made waves courtesy of Young Guru (Jay-Z’s engineer), who manned the decks for a DJ set at Empire Auto Space. During his set, Guru debuted an unreleased remix of Lamar’s track “B—- Don’t Kill My Vibe,” featuring a guest verse from Jay-Z himself.
Looking ahead at SXSW’s itinerary, a revitalized Green Day (with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong fresh from rehab) are slated to make their first SXSW appearance this Friday night (March 15) at the Moody Theater as part of the ACL Live series.
But the hottest SXSW ticket this weekend is without a doubt Prince’s recently-announced headlining slot at the official closing party hosted by Samsung on Saturday night (March 16), which like Green Day, will be the artist’s first time performing at the Texas music festival and conference.
Just this afternoon, Dave Grohl delivered SXSW’s keynote speech.