News Column

Surprises, Speculation Keep SXSW Attendees on Their Toes

March 16, 2013

Nicole Villalpando, Austin American-Statesman

SXSW festival, surprises, 2013

March 16--South by Southwest Music Festival is always full of surprises.

Some are the not-to-be missed, sure-thing kind: the not-so-secret news that Justin Timberlake will headline the MySpace Secret Shows at Copper Tank Saturday night with Questlove and DJ RJD2. His royal highness, Prince, will be at La Zona Rosa for a Samsung sponsored-show on Saturday night. Also on Saturday, Smashing Pumpkins will hit the Red Bull stage.

Some surprise guests have barely been whispered about when they show up. Friday night at Fader Fort B.o.B., T.I. and Pharrell shared the stage.

Others are more scripted: Dave Grohl and the Sound City Players at Stubb's on Thursday, which included Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, and Nirvana and Foo Fighters members. Green Day at ACL Live Friday night, after attending the screening of their films "¡Cuatro!" and "Broadway Idiot." Depeche Mode playing Brazos Hall on Friday.

Then there's the rumors. The ultimate SXSW rumor of a Daft Punk show took over the festival early in the week. Other questions: If Beyonce's little sister Solange is in town, will she show up? Or Solange brother-in-law Jay-Z? Or will Jay-Z be at the Justin Timberlake show and is there really only one Justin Timberlake show? What about those Usher sightings people have been tweeting? Will Frank Ocean be a surprise guest somewhere or Bruno Mars?

Even better surprises: break-out stars that have made SXSW what it's always been -- a chance for rising and established talent to be seen. Rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were everywhere as was Lord Huron, DIIV, Alt-J, Kendrick Lamar, Parquet Courts, Foxygen, Mac DeMarco, the Neighborhood, Destruction Unit, Thee Oh Sees, Allah-Las, Metz, Puerto Candelaria, Gaby Moreno, Divine Fits, Vampire Weekend and Chvrches.


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