After the headlining act at MySpace's Saturday showcase was revealed to be Justin Timberlake, the next surprise guest to be unveiled would join the Afghan Whigs at FADER Fort on Friday night. Like most secrets this one wasn't kept long, and shortly before the Whigs took the stage most people in the audience and online knew it was going to be Usher. Everyone else figured it out when frontman Greg Dulli broke into Looking 4 Myself's Diplo-produced minimal opus "Climax". After Usher rolled onstage to finish it out, he announced that it was his first time at South by Southwest.
"SXSW brings out the best in you," Usher said, before bringing out Yeasayer affiliate and Afro-futurist artist Sinkane to perform the latter's hit "Running.”
Capital Cities DJ'ing at Green Label Sound's afternoon BBQ
Though this moment was arguably Friday's most climactic (except, of course, for the news about Lil Wayne's hospitalization for seizures ) the day leading up to it was also action-packed. SPIN descended as usual upon Stubb's, closing out their afternoon with a charming set by Solange and a ferocious performance by Kendrick Lamar. When SPIN's Editor-in-Chief Caryn Ganz wasn't trying to catch a glimpse of Solange backstage -- "She's wearing clear boots," Ganz said, in fashion awe -- she hung out with the publication's Photo Editor Jolie Ruben, formerly of TimeOut New York. Neon Indian's Alan Palomo also took some time off from his week's DJ sets to attend SPIN's day party.
Neon Indian's Alan Palomo
Across town, Green Label Sound was hosting an afternoon barbecue for friends of the label. Directors Coodie and Chike (Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah), who directed the video for Joey Bada$$' "Unorthodox", were on site to answer questions about the collaboration's creative process. Drinks were on the house and there were free tacos courtesy of Be More Pacific, while L.A. band Capital Cities spun their cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and the original "Everybody Dance Now" ("Yeah, I went there," frontman Ryan Merchant said).
Later that night, Captain Murphy, one of the performing monikers of Steven Ellison (who would be performing later that night as Flying Lotus), spun for Earl Sweatshirt, who brought onstage Long Beach rapper Vince Staples and Odd Future member Domo Genesis. After he finished, DJ Premier kept everyone occupied until Joey took the stage close to midnight, closing out a memorable night celebrating rap's most exciting emerging talent.