The big story on SXSW’s third day was the surprise Muse performance at Stubb’s, which was announced during the broadcast of the Fox show Human Target earlier in the week (yes, really) — though Rolling Stone’s own showcase featuring Band of Skulls, Jimmie Dale and Colin Gilmore, Court Yard Hounds, John Doe, Rye Rye and Nneka was a pretty hot ticket, too.
54) SCORPION CHILD: Local Wolfmother-styled blooz-metal loudly shimmies all over a pre-noon crowd, beckons “scaredy-cats” to dancefloor
55) WARPAINT: Emo’s Jr. absolutely packed by noon to watch these up-and-coming art-rockers lay down spacey, bassy grooves.
56) LOCAL NATIVES: Snaky grooves, spastic energy, excellent Talking Heads cover. So why is this audience so mellow?
57) JAVELIN: Their trademark, water-damaged, rapcentric funkfuzz inspires everything from languid headnods to total spazzing.
58) BANG BANG ECHE: A 15-minute set from impossibly young kiwi synth-garage punx, walking line between savage, spasmodic and huggable.
59) ZOLA JESUS: Keyboard-saturated gothpunk at its most life-affirming and holyshitbeautiful. In the hottest sun-baked cabin in Texas.
60) ANTLERS: Cinematic rock, near-emo wail and devoted followers triumph over the blaaaaazing sun and a malfunctioning kick pedal.
61) VULTURE WHALE: Fairly brawny Birmingham garage twang. Unexpectedly deafening for guys who don’t move around much.
62) FIGHTING WITH WIRE: Gnashing Irish crunch-pop terrorizes a pub. Like Foo Fighters for ugly people (and that’s a compliment).
63) CASIOKIDS: The name of this cartoon-trance crew implies 8-bit fun, but they’ve got quite a handle on understated ambiance too.
64) WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS: “This has been our worst show so far. Glad you could be here to rub it in.”
65) EPILEPTINOMICON: Denver trio makes pulseless, charred, feedbacky, quasi-mystical emo noise for ski mask and sweater
66) YACHT: Wild, cinematic nu-new wave party devolves into random partiers storming the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen… That guy!”
67) BLACK ANGELS: Stoner-psych ramblers face comedy of gear errors; shirtless guy who offers them a gift of moss on a stick.
68) MAN MAN: Zappa-punks premiere new material that’s as hectic, fun and dangerous as their audience’s pre-show chicken fights.
69) CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS: Rapidfire banjo, fiddle and beatboxing in the Driskill Hotel’s stately Victorian Room. Their newgrass cover of “Hit ‘Em Up Style” has been upgraded from “must hear” to “must experience.”
70) WET HAIR: Iowa City drone ‘n’ drum duo make appropriately planetarium-worthy ooze in the Hideout’s black box theater.
71) MUSE: The day’s big unannounced show. Appropriately anthemic, appropriately huge, appropriately packed. People that couldn’t get in catch sneak peeks from the parking garage, listen and dance from the street.
72) FREDDIE GIBBS: Midwest gangsta rap artisan delivers rapidfire rhymes, each one crystal-clear. And looks good without a shirt!
73) DONNIS: Atlanta rapper brings his usually nimble rhymes, but his stage presence is filled with bounceworthy crunk energy.
74) THE COOL KIDS: Party rappers with no shortage of anthems. But half the show is the way their minimalist beats slap against your ear
75) GRASS WIDOW: Vinyl-friendly San Fran all-girl trio where bubblegum pop and post-punk dissonance politely intertwine.
76) LITURGY: Hypnotic, occassionally blissful black metal; even more bonechilling in tight quarters.
76) LITURGY: Show more awesome since the band was arrested, tried and acquitted for possession of weed in Fort Worth THIS VERY AFTERNOON
77) LIARS: Beefing up their sound with members of Fol Chen, working way up to art-rock legacy band. Spitting sweaty gothaboom fractals. “Let’s fuck em up with a couple of fuck-em-up ones.”