This year’s South-By-Southwest appears to have been more jam-packed with big ticket collaborations and ginormous mainstream acts than ever. At Friday night’s annual Fader Fort event, 90’s post-punk stalwarts Afghan Whigs brought out none other than Usher midway through “Climax” followed by the Whigs’ “Somethin’ Hot.” Easily one of the more surprising and random pairings in the history of live music, such is the glory of an event like SXSW. Check out the clip below (Usher at 16:00).
How did the week’s most talked-about surprise pairing come about? Courtesy of Sara Newkirk, former head of management at Fader’s sister agency Cornerstone and now a principal in William Morris Endeavor’s Music department. “We worked with Sara to figure out the the biggest, most surprising ‘first’ The Fader could bring again to Austin, and came up with Usher,” Cohn told Backbeat after the show. “He wanted to pair with an incredibly talented backing band — the Afghan Whigs are one of my favorite bands, and everyone from our edit team, to booking, to [Cornerstone co-founders] Rob [Stone] and Jon [Cohen] thought they’d be perfect. Their music is influenced by soul, and it was a perfect pairing. Usher was totally into it, and it was one of the most epic pairings and surprises at the Fort to date.”