Who forgot their lyrics? Who had synchronized dance moves? And who had Bill Murray rocking out in the crowd? Here are 10 things from Friday’s South By Southwest that you might have missed — even if you were in the audience.
1. As he promised, Tom Morello turned his Friday night showcase at the Swan Dive into a full-blown Occupy SXSW event. A couple of hundred non-credentialed fans gathered outside the club, where the show – which included guests such as MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer and Anti-Flag – was piped through speakers on the sidewalk and shown on a video screen above the Swan Dive door, along with Occupy footage and slogans such as “Do Not Be Afraid” and “It Is The Beginning Of The Beginning.” After closing his set with “The Road I Must Travel” and a quick lick from Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire,” Morello – undeterred by a strong police presence — paraded outside with an acoustic guitar, leading the crowd through Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” over a portable P.A., then – announcing “They can turn off the PA but they can’t shut this party down” – taught the throng to sing “World Wide Rebel Song” before calling it a night with Guthrie’s admonition to “Take it easy, but take it!”
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2. Kanye West shocked hip-hop fans by stpeping out at 2 Chainz’ Wednesday performance, and Eminem made a (widely expected) appearance at 50 Cent’s show on Friday night. Is Rick Ross the next rap superstar to crash SXSW? Rumor has it that the Maybach Music boss will be the surprise closing act at the Fader Fort on Saturday night, accompanied by the one and only Nas.
3. ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons took advantage of all the out of town company SXSW brought to Austin to celebrate the full launch of his new line of BFG barbeque and piquant sauce as well as a new brand of beer. Gibbons hosted an invitation-only party on Friday, arriving at Lambert’s restaurant – where guests dined on barbequed brisket and pork shoulder dunked in his sauces – in the passenger seat of a vintage Chevrolet Apache pickup truck. “We got lucky and found a couple of folks who said, ‘Well, It makes perfect sense. Billy F. Gibbons and hot sauce go together pretty good,” a beaming Gibbons told Billboard.com. The bash featured music by Mike Flanigan’s B-3 trio, with Jimmie Vaughan on guitar and drummer Barry “Frosty” Smith, and Gibbons joined the group for lead vocals on Floyd Dixon’s “Wine, Wine, Wine.” Gibbons also said ZZ Top was nearing completion on a new album, while one of the songs, “25 Lighters,” will be used in a marketing campaign for Jeremiah Weed whiskey. The trio plans to start a tour in early summer.
4. Bill Murray, who stormed SXSW 2010 like a tequila shot-pouring celebrity hurricane, was back in Austin on Saturday night, making an off-stage appearance at Jack White’s performance and — according to the Instagram photos — showcasing a fresh mustache. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star Rooney Mara was also spotted taking in the fest.
5. At the Shady 2.0 showcase, 50 Cent — who ran through his classic debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” in its entirety — forgot the lines to a handful of his songs, including the hit single “P.I.M.P.” Luckily, the packed crowd helped the rapper recover from any stumbles and sheepish grins.
6. Cloud Nothings laid down a thunderous punk assault at ND. When the mosh pit got too rowdy, the band wasn’t afraid to up the ante: “Two can play at that game,” guitarist Joe Boyer snarled before emptying a water bottle into the overheated crowd.
7. The premiere of the new documentary “Sunset Strip” on Friday as part of the SXSW Film Festival provided a poignant moment for Donovan Leitch, both senior and junior. “I was conceived on the Sunset Strip,” the younger Leitch told Billboard.com as his bemused father — who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month – looked on. “My mother was working at the Whiskey A Go-Go, dating Jim Morrison. My dad came to L.A. to play the Whiskey. They met, my mom moved to London and I was born.” The senior Donovan’s song “The Trip” appears in the film’s end credits.
8. A rumor that was confirmed early Saturday morning: Norah Jones will be performing the entirety of her new, Danger Mouse-produced album, “Little Broken Hearts,” at her La Zona Rosa showcase on Saturday night. Jones, of course, became a superstar exactly 10 years ago when her debut album, “Come Away With Me,” became a huge hit in early 2002. “Little Broken Hearts,” the follow-up to 2009’s “The Fall,” is out May 1.
9. At the Lose Control party, viral hip-hop collective Turquoise Jeep proved they were far more than a satirical YouTube meme. The group took the stage at 2:15 a.m. and put on a tightly executed show that included boy band-level synchronized dance moves, well-scripted between-song banter and a packed house chanting along with their signature track, “Lemme Smang It” (“smang,” of course, is a sexual combination of “smash it” and “bang it.”)
10. Of all the sights on 6th Street, there were few stranger on Friday than Violin Monster — a man wearing a wolf mask and furry feet while half-seriously playing a violin. At one point, an elementary school-aged girl spent a few minutes dancing in front of him slowly while a very brave parent looked on. As she walked away, the monster continued playing without missing a beat.