by Josh Bis
on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Stevie Nicks takes a bow
Perhaps my favorite thing that happened yesterday at South by Southwest was when Stevie Nicks spent a good five minutes just recounting, in intricate detail, the major plot points of Joe Wright's film adaptation of Anna Karenina. This was in response to a question from Ann Powers, I think, about her songwriting inspiration and process, and was only one of many fascinating digressions in an hourlong afternoon interview that included a glimpse into her entry into Fleetwood Mac, the role of women in rock music (and her general outrage at a sense of modern-day setbacks for women), and negotiating the dynamics of taking breaks from a band to pursue a solo career. Other fun facts: she really loves Beauty and the Beast both the Jean Cocteau and television version) and always wanted/wants to be a witch for Halloween.
My second favorite thing from yesterday was probably her duet with Dave Grohl at Stubb's as part of the his Sound City Players marathon. The delicate stripped-down acoustic version of "Landslide" almost quieted all of the inane side conversations in the audience for the first time in the evening. The follow-up, "Gold Dust Woman", Nicks fully witching out with the all-star band was a highlights condender, too. The whole event felt like an endurance contest for Grohl, who was onstage throughout the variety show rock lottery that included Alain Johannes, John Fogerty, Chris Goss (Masters of Reality), Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine, drums), Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters, drums), as well as Fear's Lee Ving (who, earlier in day, Dave credited for his entire music career). By the time I left — nearly three hours into the rockistest event of all time — Rick Springfield had joined the crowd. With three hours left until curfew, they showed no signs of slowing down.
Elsewhere, the fire marshall has Viceland on near lockdown for Snoop Dogg's "reincarnation" as Snoop Lion. Despite the reboot, his fashion changes have been more gradual. I could only peek through a side door over the shoulder of an increasingly frustrated bouncer, but it looked like he was wearing approximately the same outfit as when he played Coachella last year with Dre and Hologram Tupac (RIP). As for the sound, drop a reggae beat under "Gin and Juice" and you get the idea. People ate it up (along with the piles of free drinks).
Tegan & Sara
A more interesting, if less dramatic, re-invention was also playing out at the Austin Music Hall where Tegan and Sara were transitioning out of folksly singer-songwriting twin sisters to amazing pop monsters (via working with producer Greg Kurstin for this year's incredibly catchy Heartthrob). Having faced the assaults of a particularly invasive fire ant and staying up far past their usual bedtime, it was their end of their SXSW tour. Still, they challenged the crowd to stick around, holding off on playing party anthem "Closer" until the end of their set.
After that, I cycled back to the mess of Sixth Street, dodging bros getting tasered to catch my most favorite Swedish heartthrobs Shout Out Louds who were closing out the Merge showcase at the Parish. Like everyone else here, they seem to be playing a thousand shows, yet I keep finding it difficult to catch more than a few songs in this ongoing citywide treasure hunt.