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Free concerts converge on Auditorium Shores

Sharon Chapman

The free South by Southwest Auditorium Shores shows start Thursday, with the Shins as headliners. Little Hurricane plays at 5:45 p.m. followed by M. Ward at 6:45 p.m. and the Shins at 8 p.m.

Ward, whose excellent new record "A Wasteland Companion" is out April 10, has a busy night Thursday. After his Auditorium Shores set, he's scheduled to be a special guest in the concert (open to badge holders) led by surviving Big Star member Jody Stephens after the premiere of the new Big Star documentary, "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me," at the Paramount Theatre.

The Shins, whose excellent new "Port of Morrow" is out Tuesday, aren't done after Thursday either. They're taping "Austin City Limits" on Sunday. Tickets have already been distributed.

More official and unofficial SXSW events Thursday:

¦ Bruce Springsteen's keynote address at noon Thursday will be livestreamed and broadcast by NPR, including on member station KUT in Austin. Go to or for details.

¦ Waterloo Records has Blitzen Trapper starting at noon Thursday in the parking lot, followed by the Little Willies, Icky Blossoms, Oberhofer, HoneyHoney, Hospitality and Lucero finishing the day at 6 p.m. Ruthie Foster plays inside at 4:30 p.m. 600-A. N. Lamar Blvd.

¦ Also starting at noon, South by San Jose has the Iguanas, Yukon Blonde, Dan Mangan, LP, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Garza, Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Billy Joe Shaver. It's in the parking lot between Jo's and Hotel San Jose on South Congress Avenue.

¦ KUT's morning showcases are at the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Thursday's lineup includes Kat Edmonson at 7 a.m., Ray Wylie Hubbard at 8 a.m., Jimmy Cliff at 9 a.m. and the Punch Brothers at 10 a.m. $10 tickets include a breakfast taco and coffee. Part of the proceeds benefit the Shivers Cancer Center at Seton Hospital.

¦ Domy Books' What by Whatever fest gets going at noon Thursday-Saturday. Today's lineup: Cigarette Bums, Gangi, W.H.I.T.E., Manicorn, Dustin Wong, Tonstartssbandht, Body Parts, Blue Jungle, 1,2,3, Chapter 24, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Unstoppable Death Machines, Japanther. Free. 913 Cesar Chavez St.

¦ Lucy's South By South Austin Fried Chicken Revival brings five days of music at the fried chicken joint. Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday on the patio, which seats about 100. Thursday's lineup: Sugar + the Hi Lows, Marshall Hood and His Cousin, Peter Case, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Liars & Saints, Otis Gibbs. 2218 College Ave. 297-2423;

¦ The Mexican American Experience 2012 features rhythms from Tejano to Latin rock and is back for the second time at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Thursday's lineup: Sunny and The Sunliners, Shelly Lares, Patricia Vonne, Susan Torres y Conjunto Clemencia. Music starts at 6 p.m. for this free, family-friendly concert. 600 River St.

¦ There'll be live music, food, drinks and more at Cherrywood Sustainable Showcase. Noon to 10 p.m. Thursday. Free. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. 471-2787,

¦ East by Northeast is a celebration of East Austin with live music, food and community health screenings. Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday. Free. Marvin C. Griffin Building, 1009 E. 11th St. 232-8586,