20 things you missed at SXSW: Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Kanye West, Mumford & Sons
For those of us who survived, another South By Southwest Music Conference has come and gone, with a new slate of happenings for next year's programmers to topple. Check out 2012's biggest happenings below, from the Boss to Weezy.
+ Bruce Springsteen had some fine guests on the second big date of his "Wrecking Ball" tour. After an afternoon of delivering the keynote address, he was able to finally rock out and see some friends -- like Arcade Fire, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Tom Morello, Jimmy Cliff, the Low Anthem and the lead singer of the Animals.
+ Rick Ross -- speaking of Bawse -- was the surprise guest at Fader Fort on Saturday night to perform more than a dozen tracks.
+ Alejandro Escovedo had a visit from Springsteen earlier in the week, and then played host to a number of other musical cameos: R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, Jessie Malin, Jon Langford and Lenny Kaye all showed. Johnny Depp… maybe did?
+ 50 Cent was joined by several special guests, including Eminem, Kidd Kidd, Precious Paris and Governor, during his performance of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" from front to back.
+ Jack White played 21 songs at his biggest gig, performing tunes from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, a Leadbelly cover and nine new tracks from his forthcoming solo album. Acts like John C. Reilly opened up, but one of his admirers put on a little show of his own, dancing on the bar: Bill Murray.
+ Lil Wayne announced his surprise gig they very day it was put on. And it was to advertise a new skateboarding community, fueled by Mountain Dew. Ugh. No special guests, quick-hit performances.
+ Fiona Apple started in on her comeback, performing new tunes for show-goers in the backyard of a BBQ joint and inside a church. It seemed that no matter where she played, the new material -- alone with the old -- was very well-received.
+ 2 Chainz got special guest appearances and performances out of Big Sean and Kanye West, the latter stepping up on "Can't Tell Me Nothing." Happy 30th anniversary, SOB's.
+ Tom Morello's Occupy SXSW (in conjunction with Occupy Austin) show got shut down by the cops, but not before MC5's Wayne Kramer jumped on with him. They played indoors at the Swan Dive before they took the party to the streets. The PA plug was pulled, but his "mic check" couldn't be silenced.
+ Jay-Z played a straight-forward corporate gig during SXSW Interactive, but was apparently going off of Twitter users' requests to build out his all-hits solo setlist.
+ Mumford & Sons opened up the curtain on some of their new tunes, as they joined Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in promoting "Big Easy Express," their train-tour road documentary, a show presented by soon-to-relaunch MySpace.
+ Jesus & Mary Chain had a special guest at their drone-show: a naked guy managed to run across the stage, mid-set.
+ Best Coast bowed three new songs, from their forthcoming sophomore set "The Only Place," out on May 15; but things weren't always peachy. Singer Bethany Cosentino said that they'd played to some "sh*tty-ass crowds" during the week.
+ A$AP Rocky's late-night show on Saturday erupted into a brawl, with members of his crew bum-rushing the crowd.
+ Blitzen Trapper joined up with R.E.M. members Peter Buck and Mike Mills plus Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star) to cover of Big Star's "Feel" at Stubb's.
+ Matthew McConaughey played bongos during a set by The Cult.
+ The Paul Simon doc "Under African Skies" -- which I reviewed at Sundance -- won the Audience Award for the film portion, under the 24 Beats per Second category.
+ Santigold's game-face is giving Gaga (OK, maybe M.I.A.) a run for their money.
+ Guys, there was an enormous vending machine of Doritos. And, because he'll do just about anything to take home a paycheck, Snoop Dogg played inside of it.
+ Check SXSW Superlatives, featuring more than two dozen artist name-drops: what was hot, what was less hot, what was the best food truck. Youth Lagoon, Alabama Shakes, Escort, M. Ward, The Men, Nas, Slaughterhouse and more of the smaller acts who weren't invited on stage with Bruce Springsteen.