It’s a wrap for South By Southwest 2013, which drew thousands of bands to Austin, Texas for a five-day music confab. Between the official shows, panels and day parties, there were plenty of sights and sounds. Among them: these 13 noteworthy happenings witnessed by writers on the ground.
• Jared Leto joined @TwitterMusic at a private panel on the morning of March 12 at Sonos Studio to discuss how artists can best use Twitter to leverage their brand. The 30 Seconds to Mars singer spoke from the Studio’s small outdoor stage, noting, "I think the benefit of using platforms like this is being able to speak directly, clearly and speak your mind — communicate in a meaningful way. Once you start delegating those things, your voice deteriorates a lot."
• The Delta Spirit’s March 12 set at Cedar Door was a tug of war between the soundman (who wanted them to wrap up on time) and the band (who wanted to play their full 45 minutes, even though they got a late start). Both sort of won: the soundman cut all the PA sound to the stage, prompting muted singer Matt Vazquez to protest by dramatically climbing the stage scaffolding all the way to the top — a la Eddie Vedder in Pearl Jam’s "Evenflow" video. Alas, he was coaxed down instead of jumping into a massive stage-dive.
• Both the Mowglis and Free Energy, playing neighboring venues, suffered nearly identical sound problems during their afternoon sets on March 14. Microphones were popping throughout their performances at Maggie Mae’s and Peckerheads, respectively. The two bands were total pros, soldiering through a clearly terrible situation.
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• Depeche Mode celebrated their first South By Southwest performance at Brazos Theatre with a proper after-show party on March 14. Among the revelers at the rooftop soiree: Depeche’s Dave Gahan and Martin Gore along with the band’s label boss. Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer, who gathered his team for a group photo at the end of the night (see below).
• During their March 14 set at Red 7, Foxygen singer Sam France threw a mini-tantrum — going off on the audience, South By Southwest, and the music industry in general, then storming off the stage unexpectedly. For a minute, the band didn’t quite know what to do, until France reemerged and sheepishly began the next song.
actress Kaylee DeFer joined boyfriend Michael Fitzpatrick, frontman of Fitz and the Tantrums, at the SPIN House at Easy Tiger on Thursday morning, March 14. Fitzpatrick and his band stopped by for gifting from EA Games and Beats By Dr. Dre while DeFer sat with friends on a couch in the VIP section of the venue.
• Fans packed into Sonos Studio on 3rd and Red River for a March 15 surprise appearance by Erykah Badu, who joined The Rober Glasper Experiment onstage. Badu performed several numbers with the recent Grammy winner and his band, including "Afro Blue" off the group’s recent album
• “I thought my career was in better shape than playing a supermarket but what the hell,” cracked a testy and somewhat amusing Rick Springfield in the midst of a mini acoustic set on the roof of Austin’s Whole Foods flagship store on March 15.
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• Spotted on the street not once, not twice, but thrice: Divine Fits/Spoon singer Britt Daniels.
• Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt and actor Dennis Quaid passed by each other in the small VIP area at Prince‘s Saturday, March 16 show at La Zona Rosa, the former canoodling with his wife, and the latter on his way to the open bar, where he was disappointed they didn’t have Grey Goose.
• The other hot ticket on Saturday night was undoubtedly Justin Timberlake’s MySpace secret show at downtown’s Coppertank Events Center. Among those angling clipboard holders for entry some 20 minutes before showtime: Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, who famously performed with Timberlake on England’s in 2003. Although he initially had some trouble, the eccentric frontman was later seen inside entertaining fellow party-goers and his own admirers.
• Austin’s Four Seasons Hotel was the place to be as a slew of South By’s headlining performers and their representatives held court at the upstairs bar and the downstairs TRIO restaurant. Among those spotted: Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan having a late Saturday lunch with Prospect Park management partner Peter Katsis, Pharrell Williams entertaining friends on Friday night and Daryl Hannah and boyfriend Rami Jaffe, of Wallflowers, Foo Fighters and Sound City Players fame, checking out on Sunday afternoon.
• Among the throngs of zombie-eyed South By attendees spending Sunday, March 17 at the airport were star and musician Adrian Grenier, seen carrying his guitar through security at Austin’s Bergstrom International, and Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz, who, though he flew coach to LAX, splurged on a car service.