Five Cool Things Witnessed At SXSW 2013: Friday, March 15
Tex fest South By Southwest lurched into the weekend this Friday, with what was perhaps its most overbooked, spoilt-for-choice day of the week. Depeche Mode, Green Day, the Flaming Lips, Natalie Maines, and Talib Kweli? All on the same night? Well, that's just downright cruel, SXSW bookers...
Yes, SXSW can be a frustrating exercise in FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), because it is inevitable that some stellar shows must unfortunately be skipped. But I am pretty pleased with the array of shows I did manage to take in on Friday. Here are my highlights from the day:
1) Fitz & The Tantrums Threw It Down
This funky rock 'n' soul collective, led by dashing blue-eyed soulman Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick and fiery R&B goddess Noelle Scaggs, is finally following up 2010's Pickin' Up The Pieces with the long-overdue sophomore album More Than Just A Dream. And judging by the sheer volume of fans who've been showing up to the hard-working band's many appearances at SXSW this week, there are plenty of people out there twitching and itching to hear new Fitz. I caught one of the Tantrums' gigs at the Rolling Stone party at La Zona Rosa, and despite my belly full of BBQ and my liver full of Shiner Bock, I could not help but shimmy in earnest as I watched them perform. Seriously, I dare you to watch the clip below without feeling the uncontrollable urge to dance, dance, dance.
2) Blake Lewis Performed On A Magical Mystery Bus
So I was speedwalking past the Austin Convention Center on my frazzled way to see one of the 17 conflicting afternoon shows on my SXSW calendar, when I heard some familiar mouth-music beats emanating from out of nowhere. I glanced up in confusion. Look, there in the sky! It was a bird! It was a plane! No, it was a real live American Idol! Yes, there he was, Season 6 "Idol" runner-up Blake Lewis, randomly beatboxing atop a double-decker bus on the corner of 1st and Trinity. So I stopped to get my groove on. It's this sort of unplanned awesomeness that I love about SXSW most.
3) Solange Serenaded The Spin Crowd
Beyonce's younger, cooler sister has easily established herself as a darling of the indie set, collaborating with hipsters like Devonte Hynes, Grizzly Bear, Theophilus London, Of Montreal, and Chromeo. And plenty of SXSW hipsters showed up to see Solange play Spin magazine's daytime bash at Stubb's, which also featured performances by Glaswegian electro outfit CHVRCHES and new-school hip-hop hero Kendrick Lamar. Solange's show-closing rendition of her breezy daytime-disco hit "Losing You," one of THE best singles of 2012, was the perfect soundtrack for a hazy Austin afternoon. This Knowles child has her own date with destiny, because I believe her forthcoming third solo album will be massive and will take her to the next, beyond-hipsterdom level.