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Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012
Bob Mould’s set was followed by the only SXSW performance by the Roots, one of the most anticipated sets of the conference (as evidenced by a near three-block long line).

At the MOG Showcase, Bob Mould joined the likes of War on Drugs and Gary Clark Jr. to perform the entire 1992 Sugar record Copper Blue. Though older in years, Mould led his trio through a near note-perfect rendition of such perennial favorites as “A Good Idea” and “Hoover Dam”. Mould looked positively jovial, attacking his guitar with trademark fervor and belting out the raucous melodies that have endeared fans to him for years.


Mould’s set was followed by the only SXSW performance by the Roots, one of the most anticipated sets of the conference (as evidenced by a near three-block long line). The Roots took on songs off their newest release Undun as well as crowd pleasers including a searing version of “Here I Come” off of Game Theory. The Roots may very well be one of the tightest bands around, as evidenced by these past years of honing their chops each night on Jimmy Fallon. Musically ubiquitious and masterful performers, they seamlessly transitioned from their unique fusion of soul-rock and hip hop to “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns and Roses and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. In the audience was the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff who accepted an invitation to come up on stage to do a joint drum solo with ?uestlove.


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Monday, Mar 19, 2012
Bands played D.I.Y. style, crammed in a corner with a bad P.A., surrounded by a crowd of people.

Wednesday night I escaped the SXSW madness of downtown Austin, and strolled to the east side of town. I ended up at the Burger Records Burgerstock party at Trailer Space. The outside teamed with sweaty twenty-somethings smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol out of paper bags. Inside was even better; little did I know that Trailer Space was an independent record store specializing in punk and indie rock. Bands played D.I.Y. style, crammed in a corner with a bad P.A., surrounded by a crowd of people. People crammed in between rows of vinyls and CDs smoking cigarettes and pounding alcohol, ready to mosh and slam into each other. I got to Trailer Space just in time for Chicago red headed brother-sister power rock duo White Mystery.


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Monday, Mar 19, 2012
The fifth day of the film fest found me seeking out my favorite television actors to see how they perform outside their comfortable characters -- results were mixed.

First up was Frankie Go Boom, an uneven comedy from first time director Jordan Roberts featuring a pretty impressive cast by my standards. Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy fame (a show I have yet to watch) plays Frank, a generally unlucky individual currently living in Death Valley after a series of unfortunate events. These events were at least partially the fault of Bruce, (Chris O’Dowd, a TV veteran but more well known now for his turn in Bridesmaids as Kristen Wigg’s beau), his brother and a socially naive psuedo-moron who likes to record Frank’s every error.


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Friday, Mar 16, 2012
by Ryan Lester
This performance anticipates a huge year for Fiona Apple.

The amount of good will Fiona Apple receives from the press is no secret, but when your second comeback performance is as strong as it was at the Pitchfork showcase, one is left with little choice but to sing praises. Those lucky enough to make their way inside Central Presbyterian Church, many of whom waited close to two hours for a chance to get in, were treated to an intimate show that will no doubt be seen as one of the highlights of this year’s festival. The church was a perfect setting for Apple to test her new material in, and the space’s excellent acoustics made both the arrangements and her booming voice positively soar.


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Friday, Mar 16, 2012
NPR’s annual SXSW showcase was one of the hottest tickets last night, with an impressive array of acts including Andrew Bird, Alabama Shakes, and the long-awaited return of Fiona Apple to the stage.

NPR’s annual SXSW showcase was one of the hottest tickets last night, with an impressive array of acts including Andrew Bird, Alabama Shakes, Dan Deacon (who single-handidly turned the evening into an interactive dance competition), Sharon Van Etten, and the long-awaited return of Fiona Apple to the stage. Both Apple and Van Etten delivered memorable performances and drew hordes of devoted fans to Stubb’s. Apple’s set was moody, electrifying and easily one of the most anticipated shows of the festival. She performed tracks off her new album due out this summer, as well as a torrent of favorites, including “Carrion” and a blistering version of “Criminal” to close the night. Following Apple’s set, Sharon Van Etten and her band performed a set of quiet intensity, ranging from haunting and ethereal acoustic balladry to feedback drenched rockers. Opening with the rising crescendo of “All I Can”, Van Etten, along with vocalist Heather Broderick, mesmerized the crowd with their captivating and gorgeous harmonies.


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