by Josh Bis
on Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 6:30 PM
Usher w/Afghan Whigs @ "Fader Fort Presented By Converse"
Here's one of many surprisingly great things SXSW gives you that you never thought to want or need: an Afghan Whigs cover of "Climax" complete with "surprise" Usher guest appearance. This, brought to you by the Fader Fort and presented by Converse, closing out an afternoon at a wristband-required wonderland that managed to live almost exactly up to the (good and bad) hype mountain surrounding its manufactured exclusivity: free haircuts, drinks, kicks, and fresh-spun cotton candy showered with edible glitter (may include gluten additives), and a crushing crowd under the tent. It must've been just a little bit weird for Greg Dulli to transition his recently reborn band's headlining gig into an entirely different gear, but the band went on with the show (pausing occasionally to focus the crowd's thoughts and attention on Lil Wayne's dire condition).
As the unstoppable forces of Spring Break, "the weekend", and St. Patrick's Day began to converge on the festival, one got the sense of a manic energy and the beginnings of a fraying at the seams: voices lost to exhaustion, epic twitter rants about the superficiality of it all, and hating yourself for being unable to resist the opportunity to "live mas" via a free Taco Bell bean burrito in the early afternoon.
Venturing outside the carnival-like core provided a brief escape from the intensity (if not the sponsorship) of it all: in the Rainey Street neighborhood Ducktails played a downright chillaxy set at Clive Bar (Filter/Tumblr/Gap) and East Austin felt more like a neighborhood block party than a mega-festival when I biked over to hear lightning-fingered Marnie Stern on the Hotel Vegas patio shredding and commanding her new Not Zach Hill drummer to shed his shirt to entertain the crowd. Eventually, though, I made my way back to Red River to find swamp punks Disclosure, springily assertive rock from Brooklyn's Parquet Courts, and dreamily atmospheric indie rock from DIIV showcasing various flavors of guitar music at the Mohawk.
The festival goes out with a bang tonight with decidedly non-indie behemoths—Prince, Smashing Pumpkins, Justin Timberlake—each headlining last-minute events that have had people selling energy drinks on Twitter, downloading apps, and re-joining the new MySpace for a shot at tickets. That said, if anyone has favors to spare with Samsung, I'd happily sell myself out for a spot at La Zona Rosa tonight.
Some photos from Friday after the jump.
METZ don't care if you need your eardrums working or your face unmelted