Marco Torres 50 Cent and Eminem at Austin Music Hall
50 Cent / Eminem - Austin Music Hall
Never mind that Get Rich or Die Trying actually came out in 2003; the moist and dewy crowd at Austin Music Hall last night was plenty psyched for his performance of his debut album on its "10th anniversary." Backed by a full band, 50 came out in his signature vest, though it proved unnecessary as not a single shot was fired at him. His mentor Eminem came out as surprise guest, rapping passionately from beneath his hoodie. The show was further proof that this "artists doing their seminal albums in full" thing is an excellent trend in popular music. -- Ben Westhoff
You have all heard plenty this week about the mass marketing going on at SXSW. It's like literally walking through Super Bowl ads, one after the other. Today I caught Gemma Ray inside a giant Doritos vending machine. The British singer-songwriter made the best of it with her two-piece band, even as people munched on tortilla chips, classy amidst the commercialism. She evokes the late Amy Winehouse and Norah Jones, with a dash of PJ Harvey snarl with her expert slide guitar work. In an alternate universe, she's as popular as Adele, but we have to settle for her relegated to the dreams of Anglophiles and indie-boys. And fans of the most tasty of stoner staple snacks. To be honest though I would see her inside a Pringles tower if I had to. -- Craig Hlavaty
"The only thing I've ever seen like this Mohawk scene right now is the first scene in The Warriors," a friend wrote on Twitter last night, and it was pretty close to the truth. I wondered if this would be the "Death From Above" moment of the 2012 fest, when black-clad fans left out on Red River would storm the gates en masse. We can joke about producer Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex, and his one-note, wait-for-the-bass-to-drop mall rat sternum-rattle all we want, but he somehow won a Grammy and has a new generation of diehard fans who lined up some five hours before the show. As I stood outside the venue, the crowd became more interesting than the music. I saw teenagers in love, wearing matching homemade Skrillex t-shirts and holding hands. I witnessed a couple drunkenly (and literally) fighting over a hot dog, parents holding crying toddlers, a woman getting hit by a car, and overheard a conversation about how dubstep is actually part of a bigger terrorist recruiting program. I wanted to hear more about that particular topic, but I was distracted by some guy swinging nun-chucks with glowsticks on them very near my face. - Audra Schroeder
Houston Invasion Party
It almost feels like cheating to name a bunch of local bands the best thing I saw Friday, but it also happens to be the truth. Houston has always been a songwriter's town, and that fact has not been lost on the younger generation of bands, whether they are they are practicing dreamy pop (Wild Moccasins), alternative-leaning rock (The Handshake, The Tontons), paisley '60s pop (Chase Hamblin) or sharp alt-country (Folk Family Revival). The bands I saw Friday at Gypsy Lounge were all relatively mainstream to a lot of the stuff out here, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Certainly not after enduring the tinny and painstakingly slow Youth Lagoon at the Brooklyn Vegan party next door at Hotel Vegas, which may go down as the most excruciatingly boring 15 minutes I have ever endured at SXSW. - Chris Gray
New Build - Clive Bar
Playing one of its first US shows, and missing key member Felix Martin - who was home sick - Londoners New Build nonetheless showed a throbbing SXSW crowd that this new band is worthy of the high expectations surrounding it. With LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip member Al Doyle handling vocal and guitar duties, New Build issued a brief but awesomely seductive set of worldly dance-pop. The highlight was undoubtedly "Do You Not Feel Loved," the group's disco-driven single, which felt huge underpinned by a drum kit, two percussionists, and numerous layers of synths. Doyle's voice isn't a wonder, but the six-piece band made up for it with warm harmonies and relentless, multivalent rhythms. At the start of last night's show, the ginger Brit singer expressed surprise that so many had crammed into Clive Bar's diminutive backyard to see this brand-new outfit. But judging by the way New Build whipped the chatty crowd into a gleeful dance party, Doyle and Co ought to get used to that. -- Ian S. Port
Trampled By Turtles - Swan Dive
Duluth extreme acoustic pickers Trampled By Turtles were the final act of an all-Minnesota showcase during a sticky afternoon at Swan Dive in the heart of the club-rich downtown Austin. Full disclosure: This show was co-sponsored by Gimme Noise. Although charmer frontman Dave Simonett -- who looks like your hometown bar's favorite bartender -- expressed concern that Doomtree's mercilessly sweaty set would be tough to follow, that sort of challenge brought out a mandolin-cracking set (figuratively) from the gents. Adding to Simonett's rabble-rousing was his black T-shirt depicting the Replacements' Let It Be cover art. More important still was a rowdy, packed audience. "Wait So Long" proved to be just the song to make dozens of attendees lose their collective shit. And, everyone onstage and off probably needed to shampoo his beard afterwards anyhow. -- Reed Fischer
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