AUSTIN, TEXAS -- It's hard to compete with a Doritos-backed Snoop Dogg party or a Shady Records showcase with 50 Cent and surprise guest Eminem for star value -- although, truth be told, neither generated all that much attention -- but the shindig that still defines the party scene at the South by Southwest Music Conference the most is the Spin magazine party in the backyard amphitheater at Stubb's BBQ. And the performer that best summed up that party and maybe SXSW on the whole on Friday was Bethany Cosentino of Los Angeles fuzz-pop band Best Coast, whose singer told off one audience member for repeatedly requesting an older song.
"It's South by Southwest," she grunted. "I can play whatever the hell I want to."
Electronic hip-hop songstress Santigold carried that spirit over into her headlining set at the Spin party. The Philadelphia-reared debuted a batch of new songs with a hybrid of urban and world-music styles, and her Egyptian-looking headdress and gold-adorned jumpsuit reflected a similar anything-goes attitude.
Alas, one of the last major showcases as the 26th annual music fest spun into its last day Saturday was not as welcoming: Former White Stripes leader Jack White's coming-out as a solo act in a relatively small Sixth Street club was harder to get into than Jay-Z's gig on the eve of the fest Monday. Minneapolis rapper Brother Ali drew his own bulging crowd at the First Avenue/City Pages day party, where he debuted a new band with three horn players that was as sweltering as the humidity. "This is some hot weather for us" Minnesotans, Ali gasped on stage.
See our full coverage of the festival at startribune.com/sxsw.