Weekly music agenda: South by Southwest hits Austin, Texas

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The Independent Culture

Beginning March 12, film, interactive, and music professionals are gathered in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival. The music component, which begins March 17, including thousands of concerts by top-notch musicians that attract music fans from far and wide.

South by Southwest Music Conference
March 17-21
Austin, Texas, USA

The annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference & Festival attracts nearly 12,000 attendees, and the city of Austin swells with music lovers who travel to hear the nearly 2,000 bands who play on 80 stages around the city. Cheap Trick, Spoon, Motörhead, and Hole are just a few of the acts scheduled to perform from March 17 to 21. For conference-goers, walk-up music badges are $750. For concert-goers only, tickets prices and venues vary, with some shows free of charge.

Green Day's 'American Idiot' previewing on Broadway

Beginning March 24
New York, NY

Green Day's stage musical American Idiot heads to Broadway in March, beginning with several weeks of previews and followed by an April 20 opening night. Based on Green Day's 2004 album of the same name, the musical features music from both the American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown albums. American Idiot will run at Broadway's St. James Theatre. Tickets are currently available online.

Paul McCartney 'Up and Coming' Tour begins
March 28
United States/Europe

Paul McCartney is set to tour the US, beginning March 28 with two concerts in Arizona, continuing with two dates at the Hollywood Bowl, then performing one date each in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, before heading to Europe. Many more dates are still to be announced for what is expected to be an extensive tour. McCartney will perform Beatles and Wings songs as well as music from the artist's solo career. Tickets for most announced shows are now on sale.

Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" tour coming to CD/DVD
March 29/April 6

Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" tour, which ran from August 2008 to September 2009, was the most successful tour ever by a solo artist and the second-highest-grossing trek of all time, according to tour producer Live Nation. On March 30, a concert film of Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" performances in Buenos Aires will be released internationally by Warner Bros. on DVD, Blu-Ray, and CD. The DVD will include 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage taken throughout the course of the 13-month tour.

Drake: 'Thank Me Later' release
March 30

Canadian rapper Drake has worked with Lil Wayne, Birdman, Kanye West, Eminem, and Jay-Z, and generated considerable hype with his mixtape So Far Gone. He performed at the 2010 Grammy Awards, where he was also nominated for two awards, and won two BET Hip Hop Awards in 2009, including "Best Rookie of the Year." The rapper's much-anticipated debut studio album, Thank Me Later, is due out (tentatively) on March 30. "Over," the album's first single, was released March 4 on Drake's blog.

Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan looking for bassist/keyboardist
Application deadline March 31

Billy Corgan is in search of two band members to complete The Smashing Pumpkins' lineup. Bassists and keyboardists interested in playing with the band are invited to send in background info for the chance to compete in an open audition process. Corgan previously relied on open auditions to recruit the band's current drummer, then-19-year-old Mike Byrne. Interested musicians are asked to email background info (including age, a resume of any bands/recorded work), photos, and performance web links by March 31.

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim: 'Here Lies Love'

April 5/6

An unusual collaboration from the minds of Talking Heads' David Byrne and DJ/producer Fatboy Slim, this song cycle about Imelda Marcos on two CDs and a DVD features a range of guest singers including Cyndi Lauper, Natalie Merchant, and Tori Amos. The album was originally scheduled for a late February release before being postponed to early April.

'When You're Strange' soundtrack release
April 6
Worldwide through online outlets

The soundtrack of the upcoming Doors documentary When You're Strange will feature Johnny Depp reciting poetry by Jim Morrison, as well as interviews and rare live recordings of the band. When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors, which will see a very limited US release on April 9, is directed by Tom DiCillo and narrated by Johnny Depp. Pre-orders are now being accepted for When You're Strange: Songs from the Motion Picture, which will be available April 6 at outlets including www.whenyourestrangemovie.com, www.rhino.com, and www.thedoors.com.