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Tag: Music Festivals (11-20 of 101)

SXSW: Rick Ross takes a victory lap, 2 Chainz closes out the weekend

The Syracuse hardcore band Perfect Pussy won the lion’s share of SXSW’s cool-kid attention. Destruction Unit put on some of the week’s most raucous shows. Bigger bands (well, relatively) like Speedy Ortiz, Cloud Nothings, Parquet Courts, and F—ed Up went above and beyond to put on a slew of killer parties.

But who cares about that crap, because Rick Ross has the No. 1 album in the country!!!! Did you know that Rick Ross has the No. 1 album in the country? If you didn’t, he and his hype man at the Fader Fort last night made sure to remind everyone over and over. And over.

As has been the trend for a few years now, Big Rap turned SXSW into its own game. The festival’s closing night drove that point home: Ross celebrated his chart-topping new record Mastermind by headlining Fader, A$AP Mob and Mobb Deep capped their own busy weeks at 1100 Warehouse, and 2 Chainz took over a showcase at Brazos Hall.

Clearly, it was a rap-heavy schedule, and that’s not even counting Jay And Kanye’s Samsung event Wednesday night or the shows by Future, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, B.o.B., Nas, and, um, Ludacris.

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SXSW: Seven Things We Learned from Lady GaGa's Keynote Address

After Mother Monster was vomited on at Stubbs BBQ last night — for the show guys, it was all part of the show — she came to the SXSW keynote address wearing a full body tarp and dreadlocks that gave her a distinct Twins from The Matrix vibe.

The address wasn’t actually speech, but a Q&A session hosted by John Norris, the former MTV VJ who is now a producer for Fuse. Norris couldn’t help himself and dove right in with a barf joke: “You could’ve used that outfit last night, huh?” Thank you for saying what we were all thinking. (Although, I have to question his John Galliano armband. Pourquoi?) Lady Gaga seemed subdued, which is probably because she was feeling a little wrung out from all the mechanical bull/pig riding that she did last night. That really takes it out of you.

There were two overarching ideas that she kept circling back to in her answers and they might not be what you expected: 1) The music industry machine is ruining lives, but corporate sponsorships are, surprisingly, not. 2) Twitter is ruining lives. (This from a woman with 41 million followers.) The first point was a reaction to the flack that she’s gotten for showing up to SXSW–once upon a time, a festival for unknown artists–and playing under the massive corporate logo of Doritos, which underwrote her performance. The second point, well, let’s just say Gaga is competing with Anne Hathaway for the most cyber-haters.

So here are seven things we learned from Gaga’s keynote address: READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Future Islands deliver their own brand of art-pop

Thursday night at SXSW, scores of badge-less festivalgoers could be seen lingering on the curb outside of Stubb’s, craning their necks to catch a mere glimpse of Lady Gaga, the ARTPOP diva who was playing the (ahem) Doritos Bold Stage. Which is a shame, because for a just few dollars those fans could’ve walked 20 feet up the street to Cheerup Charlie’s and seen Future Islands, the Baltimore trio that’s been making waves with their own brand of synthy, deliriously fun art-pop.

Without a doubt, Future Islands was the name I heard most often when I asked people what they wanted to see this week. And it’s no wonder: The group’s hypnotic performance on Letterman last week quickly propelled them to famous-on-the-internet status, just in time for their big week in Austin. The level of excitement at their 4AD showcase last night was appropriately high.

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Lady Gaga dedicates encore to SXSW accident victims, gets puked on

Here’s the most important thing you have to know about Lady Gaga’s performance at SXSW on Thursday night: At one point, while performing the ARTPOP track “Swine,” Gaga climbed aboard a mechanical bull that had a pig’s head. A second woman, a performance artists from London who Gaga introduced as Millie, climbed onto the bull with her and proceeded to vomit directly onto the bright white apron that gaga was wearing.

It was certainly a new brand of visual, and one that Gaga designed specifically for this special show that was originally supposed to be staged inside the giant Doritos vending machine but was later moved to the faux-amphitheater at Stubb’s. That smaller stage was converted into “Lady Gaga’s Haus of Swine,” according to a light up sign on stage right. The mechanical pig wasn’t the only attraction; she opened the show by singing “Aura” while rotating on a barbecue spit (this was after six solid minutes of her eating ribs on stage in silence). You can’t accuse her of not knowing how to work a crowd, as she also re-arranged “Bad Romance” into a country-blues hybrid that featured some pretty mean fiddling.

It was hard to imagine what Lady Gaga would do on such a small stage, but she made it work. READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Jack Antonoff, Vic Mensa shine at Woodie Awards

Since its inception, MTV’s Woodies Festival has acted as one of SXSW’s great clearinghouses of acts who are poised to break. Though the 1975, Childish Gambino, and Iggy Azalea held the headlining slots, the afternoon fest seemed built around only the second live performance for Jack Antonoff’s new band Bleachers.

The fun. guitarist’s side group dropped its first single “I Wanna Get Better” about a month ago, and it has been searching for a momentum push. Perhaps Antonoff should have chosen a better single — the borderline strident “I Wanna Get Better” appeared to be the outlier during Bleachers’ brief set, with the rest of the material made up of the sort of dark, slippery guitar pop that could score the best kind of John Hughes movie. As a band leader, Antonoff’s croon and cadence eerily match those of the Killers’ Brandon Flowers’, though considering Flowers is one of the great frontmen of this generation, that should probably be considered a compliment. Of the songs introduced, the ominous “Shadow” and the anthemic “Wild Heart” both sound like potential breakout hits, though if all else fails, they have a perfectly fine future as a Tom Petty cover band, since their run through “Don’t Come Around Here No More” was the highlight of the entire afternoon.

The other big breakout was Vic Mensa, the Chicago-based rapper who is a member of the Save Money crew alongside Chance the Rapper (among others). READ FULL STORY

Drake, The 1975 big winners at MTV's Woodie Awards

Drake won top honors at MTV’s annual South By Southwest-based awards show Thursday night.

The Canadian rapper-singer-actor won Woodie of the Year, given to music’s top emerging artist, during the Woodie Awards in Austin.

Lil Wayne, who founded Drake’s label Young Money, shocked the crowd when he officially kicked off the show and dropped a verse from his own 2008 smash “A Milli.” He later accepted Drake’s award for him.

The 1975 took the breaking Woodie for best new artist. Chance the Rapper got best video Woodie for “Everybody’s Something” and Ed Sheeran earned the performing Woodie.

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Day after tragic accident, SXSW marches on (mostly) as planned

The second night of Austin’s South By Southwest music conference was marred early Thursday morning by a tragic accident that left two dead and 23 more people injured, but for most people, the rest of the festival carried on as business as usual.

The car accident that occurred around 12:30 a.m. early this morning outside of the Mohawk — a venue located on Red River Street, in a part of downtown that’s high on traffic even without a sprawling multi-faceted festival on its hands — cast a gloomy shadow on the city as word of the incident spread on social media.

“I checked into the Mohawk on Facebook last night but left before the accident,” said Leyla Lacheri, a festival attendee who was visiting from New York but originally hails from Austin, where she was a member of the city’s tight-knit music community. “When I woke up, I had like 200 messages from people wondering if I was okay.”

“It’s crazy,” said Elise Lindstrand, another longtime Austinite. “I was there with a bunch of friends right before it happened, and all these people started calling and texting me right after it happened. Everyone I know here was freaking out, making sure everyone they know is okay.” (One of the two fatalities has been identified as an Austin resident; the other was visiting from the Netherlands. Among the injured were people from a variety of cities.)

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Spandau Ballet put on insanely good show (seriously) at their first U.S. appearance in 28 years at SXSW

As one of their publicists pointed out to me just as they were taking the stage at the reconstituted Vulcan Gas Company in Austin, I was not even born when Spandau Ballet took their maiden voyage from London to New York to play Danceteria and essentially import England’s New Romantic scene to these shores. It’s been a while since their debut, and it has been almost as long in between U.S. tour stops.

Wednesday night, Spandau Ballet played their first U.S. show in 28 years, and it cannot be overstated: they slayed. In town to promote the forthcoming biopic about their rise to fame in the early ’80s, the band took it upon themselves to re-introduce their tunes to a fresh army of ears. READ FULL STORY

Jay Z and Kanye West bring the throne to SXSW

Back in 2011 and 2012, super friends Jay Z and Kanye West took their epic Watch the Throne tour everywhere from Paris to Vancouver. Even New Jersey got a two-night stand. One place they skipped, though? Austin, Texas.

That changed last night, when Jay and ‘Ye took over the Austin Music Hall for Samsung’s big SXSW party. Needless to say, people were excited; even Tyler, the Creator, who had a showcase of his own to play later that night, could be seen wilding out in the middle of the young crowd and, inevitably, inspiring a flood of Samsung-sponsored selfies from the fans around him. (Sadly, Tyler’s scheduled 1 a.m. showcase at Mohawk would end up being marred by tragedy.)

So did the Throne live up to the hype? Without a doubt. Sure, the concept and set-list was more or less a facsimile of the official tour — the rappers dueled from atop opposing glowing cubes amid a spastic laser show, before eventually taking the actual stage together and tag-teaming in and out for solo mini-sets — but that didn’t stop everyone from losing themselves during the two-hour blowout. And both Jay and Kanye have put out a bunch of new music since they last convened onstage: Hova had his (also Samsung-aided) Magna Carta Holy Grail, while West had his Yeezus masterpiece, plus the Cruel Summer comp he released under the G.O.O.D. Music banner.

But since the notes on my phone are roughly 85% exclamation points, it might be best to break it down by the numbers: READ FULL STORY

Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q plant their flags at iTunes Festival at SXSW

It’s a testament to Kendrick Lamar’s industry power right now that Apple essentially gave him and his crew an entire evening to themselves on the second night of the inaugural iTunes Festival at SXSW.

Lamar’s crew/label conglomerate Top Dawg Entertainment filled ever nook of the evening’s festivities, from the three booked acts to the guest stars. Though not necessarily on the same scale, it conjured up memories of Kurt Cobain curating an entire main stage day at the 1992 Reading Festival—a huge cultural entity acknowledging the overwhelming impact of a single star.

Of course, Lamar wouldn’t have arrived at this point if he wasn’t a stellar live performer, and he brought the same kind of energy and execution in Austin that he brought during his run as one of the top festival stars of last summer. He did most of those shows with a band, but on Wednesday night he was backed only by a DJ, and the narrowing of the sound made his material feel more claustrophobic in some ways. He benefits from that kind of intensity though: READ FULL STORY

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