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Big names, long lines for final 24 hours of SXSW

Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

Big names kept popping up all across town as the South by Southwest Music Festival roared toward its finish line today.

Late Friday night, the rumors proved true: Rapper Eminem joined fellow rapper 50 Cent on stage at the Austin Music Hall to re-create the 2003 album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." It was the first time the album had been performed live on stage.

At the Mohawk on Friday night, teens tried to climb trees to get into the Skrillex show. By the time the American dubstep producer went on at 10:30 p.m., about 500 people still were hoping to get into the Mohawk, which was as packed as reporters have ever seen it. Skrillex also later played an at-capacity show at 1100 Warehouse at 1 a.m.

Across town at the Stage at Sixth, the line stretched around the block to see former White Stripes member Jack White, who played an 11:45 p.m. showcase at the Stage on Sixth and then a second set. Even some of the people on Jack White's personal guest list did not get into the club.

Because the stage was visible from the street, a huge crowd gathered as White's set approached, though it wasn't possible to hear the music.

White's showcase also included ex-wife Karen Elson and actor John C. Reilly.

Lines continued Saturday at many of the day parties. Rachael Ray's annual Feedback party at Stubb's is always a popular one, but this was the first year that the line that formed before the doors opened at 10:30 a.m. filled the venue to capacity. Ray tweeted that about 5,000 people were in line by 9 a.m.

This created a one-out-one-in situation before the first band went on stage and the first plate of food was handed out, but fans didn't seem to mind.

People waited in line for three hours before they got to try the dishes Ray came up with for the event: mini corn dogs, brisket on a biscuit, sloppy turkey sliders and vegan nachos.

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top took the stage with Bob Schneider for a few songs, and Gibbons later signed a guitar that will be auctioned off on Ray's Facebook page.

This was the first year that Ray's Feedback party fell on St. Patrick's Day, and plenty of people were taking advantage of the holiday (and free beer and cocktails) to wear green and start drinking before noon.

The Mog party at the Mohawk on Saturday afternoon also drew lines around the block to hear former Hüsker Dü lead Bob Mould, local blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. and "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" band the Roots.

At Auditorium Shores, three days of free SXSW music capped off Saturday night with the Cult and special guest Matthew McConaughey on the bongos.

Meanwhile at the University of Texas, the bands Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show were playing to 8,000 fans on the lawn by the LBJ Library after screening their film, "Big Easy Express," the documentary about their four-city tour by train.

Lines stretched around the block on both sides hours before the event, which had to be moved from Austin High School because of the thousands of people expected. The Austin High School band was on the bill to help close the show. And Austin is featured heavily in the film.

Earlier in the afternoon, the bands screened "Big Easy Express" to a packed house as the closing film for SXSW Film. The bands also performed there.

And during SXSW, a fest that has the promise of discovering new talent, another search for talent was happening Saturday. At the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the TV show "America's Got Talent" was taping auditions and will continue to do so today.

"Whose idea was it to do this during South by Southwest?" Howard Stern asked backstage. The Sirius/XM radio personality, moonlighting as a judge on the show's seventh season, said what he heard from his hotel room Friday night was "the bad music festival. We were bombarded from every direction."

Show assistant producer Jason Raff said the show didn't know there was a conflict with SXSW "until after the contracts were signed." They had to scramble for hotel rooms.

Stern's co-judge Howie Mandel (along with Sharon Osbourne) said he doesn't sleep much anyway, so the raging music fest of more than 2,000 bands didn't faze him. "I saw a concert last night," he said. "I don't know who it was, but it was right outside my hotel room. I held up a lighter."

Show master of ceremonies Nick Cannon hit the town last night, disc-jockeying at an undisclosed club, the show's publicist said.

Contact Nicole Villalpando at 912-5900 The Associated Press, Joe Gross, Peter Mongillo, Addie Broyles, Sharon Chapman and Michael Corcoran contributed to this report.