Backbeat: The Warner Sound's Third Night at SXSW, No Slow Down in Sight

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Gorburger backstage at The Warner Sound captured by Nikon (Rahav 'Iggy' Segev / Photopass)

Wayne Coyne was perhaps even more excited about seeing Justin Timberlake on Saturday than he was playing his own showcase. The lead Flaming Lip sat down for an interview with Billboard before playing 2002’s Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots in its entirety at The Warner Sound Captured By Nikon’s final night Thursday, and was more preoccupied by the now-confirmed rumors that Timberlake would be coming to Austin on Saturday than he was his own considerable lineup of activities -- new album The Terror out April 2, his new documentary “A Year In The Life Of Wayne’s Phone”, and a bizarre new commercial for Virgin Mobile among them.
“Oh man, I’d love to see him. Think I can get in? Are you gonna go?” he said to Backbeat, sitting down on a couch at Austin’s The Belmont.
“I won’t be here -- I’m on a plane at 4:30 that afternoon,” Backbeat croaked, our voice battling through Day 6 of booze, brisket and beats.

“What? Come on man, you’re young, you can make it!” Coyne chided. Considering The Flaming Lips have been coming to Austin and SXSW since 1985 for various performances and stunts (most notably playing all four discs of 1996’s Zaireeka simultaneously in a parking lot at the 1997 SXSW) and going hard ever since, Backbeat suddenly felt like a helpless ant for even bothering to complain about mild exhaustion to lead Lip.

L-R: Sonny Schneidau, House of Blues New Orleans; Nick Stern, Vector Management; Rich Shaefer, president of; BenWeeden, COO of House of Blues Entertainment; Michael Yerke, president of House of Blues Touring (Rahav 'Iggy' Segev / Photopass)

Luckily, we weren’t the only ones who saved our energy for Warner Sound’s packed closing night showcase. The rock-heavy lineup (Alt-J, Joy Formidable, Surfer Blood, Guards, Atlas Genius and Frightened Rabbit) attracted many fans, Warner brass and industry notables who came early and stayed all the way through the 2 a.m. finish. Many attendees were particularly stoked to catch Mercury Prize nominees Alt-J, who’d played a late set at Stubb’s the night before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and had what felt like a whole section of Austin buzzing the day after. By the start of their captivating set, The Belmont had reached full capacity, with even express pass holders (including our buddy Janelle Browning at Berklee College of Music) waiting over an hour just to get to the door.

Ron Broitman, GM Warner Chapelle; Alicen Schneider, NBCUTV; Lori Feldman, Warner Bros. Records (Rahav 'Iggy' Segev / Photopass)

Among the throngs of attendees who came by the packed VIP section throughout the night: Michael Yerke, president of House of Blues touring, Ben Weeden, chief operating officer of House of Blues Entertainment, Colin Young, an artist relations rep at iTunes, Nick Stern, a manager at Vector Management and owner of 7-10 Music, Atlantic Records general manager David Saslow, Warner/Chappell head of synchronization Ron Broitman, +1 Records’ Jonny Kaps, Warner Bros. Records’ VP of marketing Xavier Ramos and Atlantic’s Camille Hackney and Brad Rains, senior VP and VP, respectively, of commercial licensing and brand partnerships. Backbeat also caught up with Jessica Shaw, senior manager of strategic marketing at Warner/Chappell and music supervisor Lauren King, formerly of Mother NY, who has several freelance projects about to hit the airwaves, including one for a major food brand.

Colin Young, label relations at iTunes; Xavier Ramos head of marketing at Warner Bros. Records (Rahav 'Iggy' Segev / Photopass)

On a very competitive night for big shows, the Warner Sound and the Flaming Lips, to boot ended things on a celebratory, surreal note, with “Do You Realize???” echoing from West 6th Street into the twilight hours, as stragglers from the Sound City show waited in vain outside just to hear the sounds.