Four Cool Things Witnessed At SXSW 2013: Saturday, March 16
Austin's South By Southwest musicfest wrapped up on Saturday with its biggest day yet, featuring "secret" shows by mega-artists like Prince, Justin Timberlake, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fall Out Boy, along with hundreds of rising acts. I couldn't see it all, of course (note to SXSW execs: Can't you get a cloning-machine company to be a sponsor next year?), but I'm perfectly at peace with the gig choices I made Saturday. And as for what I missed…well, there's always SXSW 2014.
1) Paloma Faith Renewed My Faith In Pop
The impossibly glamorous British soul singer performed an afternoon mini-set for Yahoo! over at Brazos Hall, and while many other acts that played for Yahoo! throughout the week showed up in regulation SXSW-wear (skinny jeans, threadbare tees, Converse kicks), Paloma and her backup singers, who I'd like to dub the "Faith-ettes," came dressed to impress: sequins, heels, elaborate flower-bedecked up-dos, the works. But it was Paloma's goosebump-raising voice that impressed the most.
2) Vintage Trouble Stirred Up The Funk
Vintage Trouble frontman Ty Taylor first came to fame as a contestant on “Rock Star: INXS,” but now he's a full-fledged soul star, practically a modern-day James Brown. (How J.D. Fortune ever beat him on "Rock Star" I'll never understand, but Ty is clearly better off now.) In fact, imagine James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin, and you’ll get an idea of Vintage Trouble’s muscular, in-the-pocket sound. When this funky bunch played the LiveNation Labs/Skype party at the Belmont, they packed a week's worth of Austin rockin' into their all-too-brief set. Only Prince (more on him later) busted out better Saturday SXSW moves than Ty.
3) Nakia Got "Sex"-y
The Season 1 "Voice" finalist and longtime Austin music scene fixture brought his own brand of funk to the Convention Center's Day Stage, with his uniquely, searingly bluesy take on George Michael's "I Want Your Sex." It practically had onlookers spinning in their own chairs. Why didn't Nakia perform this great cover on "The Voice"?
4) Prince Threw An All-Night Purple Party
The artist formerly, currently, and forever known as the almighty Prince closed SXSW in style at Samsung Galaxy's finale bash, performing a 160-minute, six-encore show with a 12-piece brass band for 1,300 extremely lucky festivalgoers. "They called our people and said they wanted some funk in Austin," His Purple Majesty told the elated late-night crowd at the La Zona Rosa club. "We’re gonna show you how we do it in Minneapolis." For a full review of the funkiness, click HERE.