SXSW 2012: 6 Things Seen & Heard Thursday
Which band's concert was interrupted by a naked man? Why was A$AP Rock projected on Austin buildings? Did Fiona Apple burst into flames at her church gig? Here are 6 things from Thursday's South By Southwest that you may have missed -- even if you were there.
1. Fiona Apple turned in a strong show at Austin's Central Presbyterian Church last night (March 15), one night after a well received "comeback" performance at an NPR event. Looking slim but less waifish than she has in the past, Apple opened the set with "Fast As You Can" and reminded the audience she still likes to court danger at times, whipping her scarf around within inches of a set of candles atop her piano. Luckily the scarf was set aside, Apple did not burst in to flames, and she sounded solid when playing a mix of hits like "Criminal" and new tracks like the piano ballad "Valentine" and the first single from her forthcoming album, "Carrion." For those who feared Apple's return would be a mess of Lauryn Hill-like proportions, the two excellent performances showed that she's back on her A-game.
• PHOTOS: The Scene From Austin
2. Scotland's Jesus & Mary Chain drew an enthusiastic crowd of die-hard fans to their hit-heavy headlining gig at the Belmont Theater. The alt-rock godfathers tore through a set of furious, feedback-drenched tracks that spanned their three-decade career, including modern-rock anthems like "Head On," "Happy When It Rains" and "Just Like Honey." But one audience member in particular took their enthusiasm to indecent extremes. During a slow, pummeling version of "Sidewalking," a male fan jumped on stage, tore off his clothes and threw them into the crowd, forcing security to drag him away with his skivvies bundled around his ankles. "What was up with that guy," a bemused Jim Reid said. "How the hell is he going to get home?"
3. The folks at Spotify made sure that their "secret" early-evening showcase didn't remain a secret for long. A video stream of the show -- featuring A$AP Rocky, SBTRK and Grimes -- was projected onto the buildings surrounding the 6th st. location, transforming the intimate engagement into a literally larger-than-life event that no one in downtown Austin could overlook.
Billboard.com SXSW Video
4. Though SXSW keynote speaker Bruce Springsteen did not make a widely rumored guest-appearance with good pal Tom Morello during the latter's Nightwatchman set at the New West Records day party (admittedly a longshot since Springsteen was performing that night), Morello still paid tribute to The Boss. "Anyone see the Bruce Springsteen keynote speech?" Morello asked the crowd gathered at Threadgill's. "That was pretty good. There are a lot of links in the chain of social justice; our man Bruce is in that chain." He then played Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad," which he'd perform again later, with Springsteen and the E Street Band, during their show in ACL Live at the Moody Theater.
5. At the Beale Street Tavern, Australia's Twerps added some rock 'n' roll flair to their 1 a.m. set. While frontman Martin Frawley didn't rip into any searing solos -- he left that to lead guitarist Julia McFarlane -- the Melbourne rocker did a moment to lick his guitar during a handful of passionate breakdowns. Gene Simmons lives! The band will head back to the U.S. on an April tour with indie act Real Estate.
6. The tastemaker set gathered for drinks at Lovejoy's for #MEGABLAAG on Thursday, a networking event that saw electro-filled DJ sets, vodka-soaked gummy candy and a number of first-time real life meetings between longtime Twitter colleagues. The event was heavy on the new generation of music bloggers, who share tracks and news on their Tumblr sites and group webzines such as Consequence of Sound -- and thanks to the drink tickets, heavy on tapped-out beers, too.