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SXSW roundup: Tidbits on Raphael Saadiq, Cherie Currie, Cheap Trick, John Hiatt, more

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Saadiq sets stage for Robinson

Smokey Robinson was one of the top acts at the AOL SXSW Soul Revue on Friday night at the Austin Music Hall, but he needed a little help heating things up.

Raphael Saadiq perfectly set the stage for Robinson with a high-energy — and sexy — performance that had the crowd groovin', swaying and in some cases getting a little amorous.

And Saadiq's band wins the award for style, with sleek black suits complementing the singer's signature red one.

'Hulk,' 'Mini-Me' team up

In the strange collaboration department: Many fest-goers reported seeing "The Incredible Hulk" himself, Lou Ferrigno, around town, as well as Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer.

What do those two have in common? Along with everyone's favorite TV highway patrolman, Erik Estrada, they were at SXSW to educate people about hearing loss and to promote the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Currie's chain saw skills

Cherie Currie, a singer with the trailblazing band the Runaways and an author whose book "Neon Angel" was made into the just-released film "The Runaways," showed off her chain saw skills Friday.

Currie, who came to SXSW for Thursday night's premiere of the film, spent part of Friday at Levi's Fader Fort carving a rocker's jacket out of a chunk of wood. She's no wood-carving amateur. Currie has competed and won awards at several world chain saw art competitions, according to her bio. See Friday's video by clicking here.

Cheap Trick still rockin'

Yes, Cheap Trick still wants you to want them. The '80s rockers headlined Friday's free show at Auditorium Shores, playing newer songs and fan favorites and poking fun at themselves in the process.

At one point the band brought out 8-tracks of its music to prove how long it has been around.

Drummer Bun E. Carlos was missing from the set. According to a statement posted Friday on the band's Web site, Carlos "is not currently the touring drummer for Cheap Trick. Bun E. remains a band member. Everyone is healthy and Cheap Trick will continue to tour as planned."

Guitarist Rick Nielsen's son Dax sat in for Carlos for the Austin show. There was no mention by the band of Carlos' absence.

'Get Low' stars abound

Memo from the publicity department of Sony Pictures Classics "Get Low," starring Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray: Attention: Robert, Sissy and Bill, Thanks for agreeing to promote our movie at South by Southwest. Here's our advice: Show up everywhere. Go backstage and congratulate Billy Joe Shaver. Mingle at Ray Benson's do. Hit the St. Patrick's Day events (Yes! Irish Americans buy tickets, too!). Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel, then dine at Trio. Hit a few bars and music gigs. Whatever you do, don't stay in your hotel room.

Hiatt at Waterloo

"It's great to be at South by Southwest," John Hiatt said from the outdoor stage at Waterloo Records early Friday afternoon.

"All the gigs seem to be in parking lots here. That's what I love about Austin: People just seem to gather," he said.

At first, Hiatt seemed weary, his enthusiasm forced. Then he breathed deeply. "We're going to slow things down a little bit," he said. "Well, quite a bit. We're old." Underneath the groove, his energy boosted. He finished gloriously: three Hiatt classics ("Slow Turning," "Tennessee Plates," "Memphis in the Meantime") jolted alive both the songwriter and the crowd.