For anyone attending the annual South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas the week of March 12, the decisions are painstaking. Who do you miss, so you can see someone else? You can't see everything, but here are the big names who you likely don't want to miss this Thursday.
1) Meat Puppets, Dave Grohl, and the Sound City Players, 8pm, Stubb's - If you're up at 11am, then you should be at the Austin Convention Center for Dave Grohl's SXSW keynote address. But at night, it's time for rock's friendliest superstar to invite the Meat Puppets to open and then for Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Rick Springfield, Fear's Lee Ving, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Rage Against The Machine's Brad Wilk, Slipnot's Corey Taylor, and more to play at what is the festival's craziest, most star-studded concert. If you end up having grandkids, you'll be telling them about this one.
2) Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, 9pm, Antone's - For the English-folk-guitar-hero and alt.-and-classic-country-music-hero crowd, there's this lineup of living legends. Thompson is supporting his Buddy Miller-produced Electric LP, while Emmylou & Rodney Crowell are celebrating their collaboration, Old Yellow Moon, that brings them back to their 1970s heyday! Who doesn't like heydays?
3) The Flaming Lips, 12:15am, The Belmont - Rule # 1: No one misses a Wayne Coyne performance at SXSW. What he decides to do with his Flaming Lips is always far greater than what anyone imagines. Just don't be surprised if you end up in a parking lot somewhere watching the earth move under your feet. Rule #2: Refer to Rule #1.
4) Ghostface Killah/RZA, 12:20am, Scoot Inn - The opportunity to see two of the Wu-Tang Clan's main larger-than-life characters follow one another just sets up a game of "Top This" that could raise the proverbial roof at the Scoot Inn. Or maybe they'll just duet on ballads all night. Nah, this should be a great meeting between key hip-hop figures. Remember, the Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothin' to $%&* with!
5) Paul Oakenfold, 1am, Buffalo Billiards - There aren't many "Trance/House DJ"s with the name recognition of Paul Oakenfold, and while the world awaits an official release date for 2013's Pop Killer, his first solo studio album in seven years, lucky festival participants can enjoy an evening of overcrowded (for sure!) mind-melting sound and fury.