Metallica was the talk at South By Southwest on Friday, the event's third full day. The headbanging titans rolled into town to chat up their upcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica game and also to play a show at Stubb's which had fans lined up outside the gates early in the day.

Drummer Lars Ulrich has been coming to the conference since he "dabbled" with his own label during the 90s and told Billboard.biz he was happy to be taking part in SXSW with the band. "It's pretty cool to be part of the energy here," Ulrich said. "It's a cool vibe. It’s kind of becoming the Cannes or Park City of music." Playing a small capacity venue (approximately 2,500) was also a treat, he said. "We love playing these small places. We do it every so often, maybe not often enough. Listen, we'll show up anywhere and place. We'll play a backyard barbecue." Noting that Stubb's sits behind a famous barbecue joint, he added that, "I guess this IS a backyard barbecue."
- Gary Graff

Twitter flood
Cell phone networks at SXSW have crashed sporadically as attendees overloaded them posting to Twitter. For periods of yesterday and today, AT&T customers couldn't make calls or send or receive messages in Austin.

The move to Twitter has also been reflected in a number of blogs, whose coverage of the festival has been scaled back considerably. Many prominent indie blogs have only posted a handful of items a day, compared to the wall-to-wall coverage in previous years.
- Cortney Harding

Branding wrap-up
- Of all the brands here at SXSW, the official gear for Major League Baseball was a bit of a surprise, but they were out in full force with the MLB Roadshow in the heart of Austin. MLB.com is a major sponsor of the festival and this is the second year the "Roadshow" has been at SXSW. They had about half a block secured for their wrapped bus and a pretty nifty pitching cage that, when Billboard walked by, a couple of drunk Scotsmen were super into. Another nice touch: The MLB reps on hand were all wearing Texas team jerseys - the Rangers and the Astros. On display were some select merchandise, including hats, jerseys and even some bean-bag chairs that looked like deflated baseballs. And patrons could play Major Baseball games on the XBOX 360 and purchase hats from a mobile Lids store. Over the past few years, the "Roadshow" has made appearances at other music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Rothbury, and Wakarusa, which are more fan-oriented events.

- Despite the crowds and all the visual static downtown, sometimes basic street marketing still works: in this case, a group of Japanese guys with punked-out haircuts stood on the street holding up a giant banner promoting their band "Geeks." It was impossible to miss these guys, and a bunch of random passersbys were taking their picture.

- Another street "promotion" that caught Billboard's eye: a series of green cups for SEBA Skates, a brand of rollerblades, that served as a mini obstacle course for a rollerblader. For the most part, she did a pretty good job of going through them and avoiding knocking over random people. And people were paying attention-either out of curiosity or not wanting to get plowed. But overall I'd give this an A for effort but a D for execution. There's no way anyone learned that SEBA is a rollerblading company. There was no one on hand to pass out literature or free shwag or give any kind of information about the products. The promotion existedsolely as a visual, and very brief, experience. Using those green cups to hand out water (it was another 80-plus day in Austin) would have been more successful.
- Bryan Keplesky, Prentice Howe [for the Brandweek blog, Brandfreak] and Mike Ayers

Music bits
Tinted Window - Taylor Hanson, James Iha, Bun E Carlos, Adam Schlesinger - played their first ever set at a Billboard showcase at SXSW early Saturday morning; Bun E Carlos seemed a little under the weather with a cold but the vibe of the show was upbeat. The album is due in April.

The first album by Hot Legs – former Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins' new band – hasn't released its first album in the U.S. yet, but the group is already working towards its second. Guitarist Pete Rinaldi and drummer Darby Todd told Billboard.biz on Friday – after the British quartet's performance at a Spin-magazine afternoon party at South20By Southwest, one of four scheduled festival performances – that Hawkins and company were into "serious" songwriting for the follow-up to "Red Light Fever." The group played one of the new songs, "Whichever Way You Want to Give It to Me (Theme From Hot Leg)," during is performance. "Red Light Fever," which echoes the Darkness' flashy, past-referencing pomp rock, was released Feb. 9 in the U.K. Its U.S. release date is pending. Hot leg has four more performances scheduled for SXSW.

Neil Young left town on Friday. The veteran rocker spent the first couple days of SXSW showcasing his environmentally progressive Lincvolt car and presumably chatting with director Jonathan Demme about the forthcoming concert film "Neil Young's Trunk Show," which Demme is premiering on Saturday afternoon. Earlier that day an SXSW panel will discuss the making of Young's long-delayed "Archives" project. Young won't be at either, however; he left Austin on Saturday to return home to California.
- Gary Graff & Billboard Twitter feed

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