The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Get funky: Prince closes rock-heavy SXSW with grooving, jamming concert

  • Print

AUSTIN, Texas - How else would Prince shut down the South by Southwest Music Festival that is basically a weeklong showcase of rock n' roll?

By throwing a totally different kind party: a grooving, brass band-backed funkfest that stretched to 3 a.m. and outlasted many fans lucky to get inside in the first place.

As Justin Timberlake and the Smashing Pumpkins headlined other SXSW wrap-ups nearby, Prince prevailed as the toughest ticket Saturday night by performing for only 300 people in his first appearance at the annual music smorgasboard that featured 2,200 bands and artists this year.

Prince towered over them all — but his concert at the tiny La Zona Rosa club that sits on the fringe of the SXSW mayhem was no grandiose spectacle. He performed on a spartan stage behind a giant video board, and contentedly played bandleader instead of superstar for this funk-filled SXSW finale.

"They called our people and said they wanted some funk in Austin," said Prince, before belting out the last bars of a gentle rendition of "Purple Rain."

A 12-piece brass band joined the latest incarnation of Prince's New Power Generation for a run of hits like "1999" and "Cool" that jammed a groove twist. The show began with the band making a Mardi Gras-style march onto the stage, which was quickly drowned out by shrieks upon the sight of Prince emerging in a magneta, high-collared shirt and snug black blazer.

Few fans, however, came away with photographed keepsakes. Prince is notoriously rigid about controlling his music and image, and organizers warned the crowd three times before the show that taking pictures was forbidden. Fans who flaunted the rule were scolded by security or told to scram.

Even simply using a cellphone was banned— a biting irony, given that the concert was thrown by Samsung Galaxy and promoters worked the crowd beforehand offering customers fresh phone batteries or device test-drives.

Prince never played guitar during the set. Nor did he perform his new single "Screwdriver" that debuted earlier this year, opting instead for funk covers: Curtis Mayfield's "We're a Winner" and Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Until You Get Enough" among them as the night dragged on and weary fans made their way to the exits early.

"Don't make me hurt you. You know how many hits I got?" Prince said during the first of several pseudo-set closers, before launching into yet another encore.

Green Day, Dave Grohl, Vampire Weekend, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks also starred at SXSW this week.

____

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

7 questions with Craig Kielburger before We Day Manitoba

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you in favour of the Harper government's new 'family tax cut'?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google