As usual, SXSW has a lot to offer this year, with non-stop music taking over Austin, Texas through March 16. Deciding which concerts to hit is always a daunting task, but with the line-ups nearly solidified we're giving our intel on this year's 10 must-see SXSW shows.
March 11, 1100 Warehouse
If you follow 50 Cent on Twitter, it's easy to see that he loves apps and sharing everything. So it's no surprise he's lined up a gig closing out SXSW Interactive - but how it goes down is anybody's guess. He recently parted ways with Interscope and is "going indie," as his next album, "Animal Ambition," will be distributed via Caroline Distribution. While his classics like "In da Club" and "P.I.M.P." will most likely make the set, expect a host of new cuts from the 38-year-old rapper. The showcase is open to all types of badgeholders and will stream live on the Hangwith.me app.
Def Jam 30th Anniversary Celebration: 2 Chainz, Pusha T and more
March 11, Stubbs
The closing night of SXSW Interactive will feature an all-star hip-hop show at Stubbs, paying tribute to iconic rap label Def Jam's 30th anniversary. Although the night won't feature legends like Jay Z, the Beastie Boys or Public Enemy, the new Def crew will take over with 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Method Man & Redman, and YG highlighting the bill. Expect a lot of collaborations and hopefully a few tribute verses
iTunes Festival at SXSW: Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden & More
March 11 - 15, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Piggybacking off London's iTunes Festival, which takes place every year now for the entire month of September, Apple is bringing that concept to SXSW for the first time. The five nights feature a fantastic line-up: Coldplay with Imagine Dragons on March 11, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q on March 12, Soundgarden performing "Superunknown" in its entirety on March 13, Pitbull and Zedd on March 14, and Keith Urban with Willie Nelson on March 15. Tickets won't be easy to get though: Badgeholders must enter in a lottery for each specific show and proceed to pray. The shows will also be streamed live on iTunes and Vevo.
Kanye West & Jay Z
March 12, Location TBA
Just when many thought the dust had settled and all performers were announced for SXSW, in comes rap’s royal tandem of Kanye West and Jay Z riding into Austin on March 12 to rock at a secret location. West and Z will headline the first night of Samsung's SXSW Concert Series. It will be the first time the pair have hit the stage for a full show together since they toured for their collab album “Watch the Throne” in 2012. Both are SX veterans. Jay performed for American Express in 2012. West headlined a Vevo showcase for his G.O.O.D. Music label in 2011, where Jay joined him to perform “H.A.M” from the “Throne” album that released that fall.
Against Me!, Albert Hammond Junior, Wye Oak
March 12, Hype Hotel
Of the many day parties festival goers have to choose from, the Hype Machine's Wednesday afternoon line-up looks particularly great if you love loud, fast guitars. Curated by Consequence of Sound, the show features Wye Oak showcasing new songs from their forthcoming album "Shriek," Albert Hammond Jr. revisiting his solo work, and punk-rock vets Against Me! closing out the afternoon with tunes from their recent album, "Transgender Dysphoria Blues." RSVP's are required.
Damon Albarn, St. Vincent
March 12, Stubbs
SXSW Music officially kicks off on Wednesday night with NPR Music's stacked showcase at Stubbs. Topping the bill is Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, who will be plugging songs from his debut solo album, "Everyday Robots." Right before Albarn will be St. Vincent, who's fast becoming one of indie-rock's more dynamic performers. It's simply jaw-dropping to watch her play guitar. Earlier in the evening, the show gets underway with buzzy punk-rock band Perfect Pussy and avant-R&B singer Kelis.
March 13, Stubbs
Lady Gaga is making a bold appearance at SXSW 2014... as a part of Doritos' Bold Marketing campaign. She's playing at Stubbs and to gain entrance, fans must complete a host of "Bold Missions" supplied by Doritos.com. Thoughts about the collision of "Artpop" and snack chips aside, this will be the spectacle to be at on Thursday night.
Nas, A$AP Mob, Flying Lotus
March 14, Austin Music Hall
Nas is currently gearing up for a 20th anniversary celebration of his landmark debut "Illmatic" - a reissue and documentary called "Time Is Illmatic" are both on the way - and Mass Appeal Magazine has nabbed the New York MC to headline an excellent night of hip-hop. If he performed the album in its entirety, no one would complain. The showcase will also feature A$AP Rocky's rap collective A$AP Mob and psychedelic beatsmith Flying Lotus. For rap fans young or old, it doesn't get much better than this.
March 15, The Main
On the heels of the surprise release of his debut album “Recess” in the wee hours of this morning, Skrillex’s Mothership Tour 2014 takes off at SXSW. On March 15, the EDM DJ/producer will have Austin going nuts at the Main.
Take Me to the River Jam: Booker T, Snoop Dogg & More
March 15, Butler Park
Closing out SXSW will be an all-star tribute to Memphis Soul featuring Booker T, Syl Johnson, the North Mississippi All-Stars, Charlie Musselwhite, Snoop Dogg, and more. The house band will be Hi Rhythm, who recorded numerous gold and platinum albums for Memphis soul legends like Al Green and Ann Peebles. A lot of SXSW is spent searching for cool, but really, you don't need to look any further than this.