SXSW 2013 Highlights - Epic Speeches And Music Performances

From Dave Grohl's inspirational speech to Prince's explosive closing performance, we bring you the highlights of this year's South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Ultimate Guitar

With about 2,500 bands, 10,000 registrants and plenty of premieres and exclusives, this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas proved itself once again as one of the biggest music and film events of the season.

The likes of Dave Grohl, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins and Prince all had their share in maintaining the event's high reputation, whether it was with explosive performances, new songs premieres or just some amazing speeches.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl got the honor of becoming this year's keynote speaker and he most definitely did not disappoint, as the former Nirvana drummer delivered a truly epic speech. In an inspiring 50-minute talk, Grohl had opened up about his music heroes, childhood and the devastating impact Kurt Cobain's suicide had on him.

The frontman got clearly emotional while describing how unable he was to even consider playing music in the wake of Cobain's suicide, stating that the music he worked so hard to create has "betrayed" him. But not all of his talk was grim, quite the opposite actually. Grohl has managed to share some genuine optimism and true rock attitude during his numerous anecdotes, even admitting that he considers "Gangnam Style" as one of the best songs of the past decade.

Just to make sure he wasn't only there to talk, Grohl also led his recently-formed Sound City Players supergroup through a lengthy three hour and 20 minute set, featuring almost 40 songs and the likes of rock legends John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Krist Novoselic, Rick Springfield and many others.

Another frontman who grabbed all the spotlights at the SXSW was Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and his exclusive return to stage after many months of intensive rehab following an onstage meltdown seven months ago at the iHeartRadio festival. Supercharged and stronger than ever, the band blasted through a set composed of older hits, as well as the new ones from the latest "Uno, Dos, Tre" album trilogy. Speaking of which, the group has also took this year's festival edition as an opportunity to premiere their new documentaries - "Broadway Idiot" and "Cuatro!", with the latter one focusing on the making of that very same trilogy.

Making sure we get to hear some new music, Depeche Mode and the Flaming Lips came in to present the audience with some of the new material they've been working on lately. Synth-pop greats from Essex have dedicated nearly half of their 45-minute set to premiering new tracks, while the Flaming Lips have even gone a whole step further by playing their new album "The Terror" in its entirety.

Celebrating his 46th birthday, Billy Corgan of alternative rockers Smashing Pumpkins gave a strong 2-hour performance. And speaking of hard-rocking performances, pop icon Justin Timberlake has pleasantly surprised the audience with special guitar-oriented renditions of some of his greatest hits.

To make sure the show ends on a high note, legendary Prince has set the crowd on fire with a smashing two hour and forty minutes performance, returning for an encore for a total of six (yes, 6) times. Backed with about 20 musicians, the singer kept the flame going well after midnight until almost 3 a.m. Prince himself has summed it all up the best by simply saying "I love being a musician. It feels like a servant. A servant for you."

Since the festival organizers always stray to perfection, they make sure that each next year tops the previous one. And with so much epic moments during this year's edition, it seems like they'll really need a miracle to best out the SXSW 2013.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These are the sorts of things that as I grow older and more burdened with life I will never forgive myself for having missed.
    John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, and Billy Corgan? Too bad I don't live in Austin.
    Austin is 6 hours away...I keep telling myself for the past few years I'm going to go but dang it, I haven't gone yet. Next year for sure!
    Ive not actually seen the speeches or perfamnces yet, i typed SXSW in and a fight came up that happened there, awesome, this bully dickwad was causing trouble trying to act hard and stuff bitch slapping people, so this guy sucker punched him and laid him out. If your gunna go round doing that shit, you deserve to get knocked out. He even gets arrested at the end. My kinda video, now onto the speeches ha
    you cant beat those prices, wheres the store located? i cant wait 5-7 business days.
    I went, it was magic. What do you expect, gorgeous girls, great music, and a week long affair. way great
    I got to see the flaming lips play the terror. So much better than embryonic. And they sent a naked girl out in the bubble.