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.
You can download the NPR Sessions from Sharon Van Etten, Andrew Bird and more at NPR Music’s SXSW page.