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Guests, Celebrities Bring Memorable Moments To South By Southwest

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

A key activity for anyone attending South By Southwest each year is chasing The Moment — the surprise guest appearance, the unexpected collaboration, the transcendent performance that will be spoken about for weeks and months — if not years — to come. Here’s a half dozen of them from this year’s festival:

An unlikely, but yummy, Rachael Ray-sponsored party (Feedback) with the equally unlikely sight of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, declaring “food and music — what a good combination!,” playing John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” with Ray’s husband, John Cusimano, and his band, The Cringe. Earlier in the festival, Gibbons joined psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson at the latter’s annual Ice Cream Social event for three songs — a new song called “The Beast,” which Gibbons had to learn on the spot backstage, plus older favorites “I Walked With a Zombie” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

The Clash’s Mick Jones, at SXSW with Carbon/Silicon — his new band with Generation X’s Tony James — joined fellow Brits A3 onstage for their hit “Woke Up This Morning,” aka “The Sopranos” theme song.

SXSW keynote speaker Lou Reed made his one performing appearance of the festival at a Reed tribute concert. After performances by Reed and Velvet Underground songs by My Morning Jacket, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo and others, Reed joined Moby and his band, the Little Death, for a rendition of “Walk on the Wild Side.”

Craig Owens of the Davison, Mich., headbangers Chiodos brought Circa Survive singer Anthony Green onstage for an acoustic rendition of the Lemonheads’ “Being Around” at an Alternative Press-sponsored afternoon showcase — which Green told the crowd was “pretty much about our love for each other.” He and Owens kissed each other’s cheeks after they finished the song.

Daryl Hall delighted those attending his interview session by playing three Hall & Oates hits — “She’s Gone,” “Adult Education” and “Rich Girl” — with longtime bassist and collaborator T-Bone Wolk.

The poignant concert celebrating the release of the anti-war documentary “Body of War” featured pointedly political sets by Tom Morello, Ben Harper, Serj Tankian, Billy Bragg, Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson and others. Highlights included Harper and Morello joining forces for the former’s “Gather ‘Round the Stone,’’ and a Morello-led group rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” which included the censored final verse and had the field full of fans at Stubb’s bouncing up and down for the final choruses.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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