BEST HIGH-VOLUME MEMORIAL SERVICE: The Official SXSW Tribute to Lou Reed
Some tributes are all-star dog-and-pony-shows. And some are like this: a group of artists deeply connected to their subject, by aesthetic sensibility, friendship or both, gathered in a matter-of-fact labor of love. Curated by NYC indie-rock forebear Richard Barone and Austin punk-rock mayor Alejandro Escovedo, this four-plus hour evening went from fevered (Garland Jeffreys’ R&B-ish "I'm Waiting for the Man") to ferocious (the Black Lips' howling "Run Run Run") to surprising (Suzanne Vega's low-key but note-perfect "Walk on the Wild Side") to more surprising (Spandau Ballet's appropriately Bowie-esque "Satellite of Love") to dizzying (an all-guitarists-in-the-pool "Sister Ray") to almost painfully gorgeous (an aged Reed reciting the lyrics to "I'll Be Your Mirror" in a grizzled voice on video, accompanied by a lone cellist, followed by Barone’s sweetly-androgynous high tenor sung version). And with a songbook like Reed's, it could have gone on for another four hours. R.I.P.