Austin, Texas – March 17, 2012: Once again the gossip queen Perez Hilton brought his “One Night in Austin” music show to South by Southwest (SXSW) this year. His forte is to showcase talent from the U.S. and overseas that he feels will become the next big thing in music.
The Perez SXSW party used to have a tremendous cache, it was the must see party of the week. People would line up around the venue for hours to get in. In the past check-in was chaotic as people pushed and shoved to get ahead of the line. This all has changed now that SXSW has been taken over by the MEGA sponsors with bottom-less pockets like Doritos, GM, Microsoft, Fiat and others. The festival pretends to promote new talent by stuffing small venues with bands that won’t be around one year from now and at the same time exploiting super stars like Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen to promote the SXSW brand and sell $1000 badges. Then it turns out you can’t even get in the venue with your badge because the place is full of people with “special” invitations. Regardless what you think of Perez, he is truly committed and knowledgeable about pop culture and trends. The SXSW badge wearing, skinny jeans vision impaired hipsters (they all wear think rimed glasses) only flock to the super star shows as directed by their iPhone app via an unknown faceless 2.0 tweeter. Hence, Perez’s show is no longer the hot ticket in town for SXSW.
However, if you do want to see new talent and be old school SXSW, Perez Hilton’s “One Night In Austin” is THE place to be.The line up included Miguel, Cris Cab, Rosi Golan, Kimbra, Kat Graham, Ed Sheeran, Cher Lloyd, Dragonette, Kreayshawn, DEV and Timbaland.
Here is the one-line review solely based upon my shallow photog impressions of the night. Miguel was so, so.. lyrics and music not very inspiring. When he asked the crowed if he could sing adult lyrics, it became very lame. Lines like “take your pants off..take your skirt off…” just don’t do it for me. Cris Cab was good, liked his voice and style. Rosi Golan, intersting and good voice, an artist that will grow on you. Kimbra, awesome stage presence, great showmanship, not sure about staying power. Kat Graham, awesome, she’s a Janet Jackson in spirit, body and soul! After standing on my feet for hours, she woke me up with both her wonderful frivolous pop urban dance music and stage performance. Ed Sheeran, not sure what to make of him. He seems to be the darling of the moment. I did find myself walking out of the photo pit after two song even though I could stay for three. There is quality in his performance, but I don’t get it at all, very bland indeed. Cher Loyd, pure pop-music fun with energy and hip style. Dragonette, not sure, can’t recall a thing about her, kinda like wall paper. Kreayshawn, she must like cocaine, wonder why I say that, maybe she mentioned it? Strange girl, but she sure is entertaining. Make sure to put her on your playlist for your next party. DEV, one-hit wonder and feature star on VH1 Were Are They Now. This is a complement, because there are an amazing number of famous one hit wonders around. Timbaland, he was the star that set the place on FIRE. Timbaland started of somewhat in a controlled manner while singing with DEV. However that did not last long, as soon as DEV was off the stage, he let it go all the way. The positive energy, free flowing rap beats, cool style and over the top genuine interaction with the audience was PHENOMENAL. After the third song, the PR staff signaled the 30 photogs and press people to get out of the photo pit, at which point Timbaland said “hey where are you guys going…. don’t leave now…… come back in…….. I want more pictures ….” This was a first for me.
As a photog, my fingers are getting tired of typing and I wish I could stop. However, I do feel I need to comment some more on the general theme of the night. Perez donated more than $40,000 from the evening tickets proceeds to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. I might be wrong, but I don’t think there was any other show at SXSW who donated the proceeds to a good cause other than their liquor budget. Perez seems extremely involved in his show, he personally presents each artists, he poses with them on the red carpet and he actually sits in the photo pit to watch and listen to each artist as they perform.