What It's Like Being Pepper-Sprayed at SXSW

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Our barbed-wire view of Scoot Inn during Tyler, the Creator's SXSW set.
It's hit all the major news outlets now: Odd Future's main attraction Tyler, the Creator was arrested on Saturday while trying to board a flight out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the misdemeanor crime of inciting a riot.

This came as little surprise to those of us who were there at the Scoot Inn on Thursday when the riot itself occurred. While the mayhem was controlled to a certain extent, thankfully, the situation could have escalated very quickly if not for the efforts of all involved (including Tyler himself) to quell the insanity.

Of course, it didn't stop your humble writer from getting pepper-sprayed twice as part of the outside audience.


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Safety and SXSW: Was the Mohawk Tragedy a Tipping Point?

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Photos by Marco Torres
A memorial to Thursday morning's crash victims outside The Mohawk on Red River Street
The last morning of SXSW 2011 was not a pleasant one. Not because of any kind of personal debauchery the previous evening; that had come a few days before. Reprimands had been handed down, wrists had been slapped, and tails were hanging between a few legs, these two included. The specific infractions have long since been forgotten, but what I remember now is sitting at Starbucks downstairs at the downtown Austin Hilton Sunday morning, watching one of the SXSW directors telling a local TV station that the festival might have to take it down a few notches. So I'm not the only one, I thought.

That cup of coffee was the one single moment when SXSW finally stopped being fun for me.


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UPDATED: Overnight SXSW Crash Leaves 2 Dead, 23 Injured

Categories: SXSW

A statement from the Mohawk about two hours after the fatal crash outside.

UPDATE (Thursday, 1 p.m.): According to more current information, the fatalities in this morning's crash were one of the moped passengers, a woman from central Texas, and a 35-year-old male from the Netherlands who was hit while riding his bicycle near the scene.

SXSW turned tragic overnight when a suspected drunk driver hit a crowd outside a club on Red River street shortly after midnight, killing two and injuring 23, five of them critically.

According to KEYE TV, police were attempting to pull over a silver Toyota at E. 9th Street and the I-35 frontage road when it took off the wrong way down a one-way street heading toward downtown, turned north on Red River and ran past a barricade and plowed into a moped, killing two passengers one passenger, as well as a taxi and another vehicle outside the Mohawk around 12:30 a.m. (See update above -- Ed.) The driver fled from the scene and was arrested after being subdued by a taser, CNN reported.

"People [were] down every ten feet," one bystander said. "Everywhere you look, somebody's been hit."

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Texas Guitar God Johnny Winter Is Forever True to the Blues

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Michael Weintraub/Sony
The quintessential Texas bluesman: Johnny Winter
A December 1968 edition of Rolling Stone featured Texas musicians who were at the time making inroads into the magazine's home city of San Francisco. Featuring a cover photo of cowboy-hatted Doug Sahm (balancing toddler son Shawn on his knee), it mentioned players and singers both known (Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs) and others familiar only to hardcore fans.

But it was a mention of a shit-hot blues player, Johnny Winter, that seemed to generate the most buzz. Soon, the Beaumont native found himself in demand. The article described "A cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, who plays some of the gutsiest, fluid blues you ever heard."

A guest appearance with Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper at the Fillmore East gave a major audience their first real look at this mythical figure. Columbia Records execs were in the audience, and it led to a then-unheard of advance for an unknown act -- a reported $600,000 -- resulting in Winter's 1969 self-titled debut.


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One Last SXSW 2013 Flashback: Justin Timberlake

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Photos by Emerald McLaughlin
SXSW is rapidly fading in the rearview mirror, but this was too good to pass up. Emerald McLaughlin, daughter of Houston Press Publisher Stuart Folb, happened to be down front at Justin Timberlake's not-so-secret appearance last Sunday night at Austin's Coppertank Events Center, which was merely a humble brewpub when we lived there.

Timberlake, whose slick single "Suit & Tie" is currently No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, appeared at an event spornsored by MySpace, the proto-social-network Timberlake is currently trying to resurrect as part-owner. His SXSW appearance, as well as last-week's five-night stand on NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, served to stir up even more advance buzz for his first album in seven years, The 20/20 Experience, which was released this past Tuesday.

Rolling Stone projects Experience will sell in the 800K range its first week out of the gate, which would make it the biggest-selling debut since Taylor Swift's Red last fall, and still far, far beyond an average debut these days.

As for McLaughlin, who was front and center the whole time, "She loved it," says Folb.

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The Complete SXSW Overflow Festival 2013 Guide: Week 2, Part 2

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The Witherees
We've rounded the bend to the last few days of Super Happy Fun Land's SXSW Overflow Festival 2013. There are only a few acts left, so get down there!

THURSDAY, MARCH 21

Stanley and the Search: "I would describe our sound as half punk and half indie with a sprinkle of Melody," says bass player Omar Loera. 9 p.m.

Alien Knife Fight: "Gothic blues" from Austin. 10 p.m.

Dead Mineral: Self-described as "instrumental psychedelic self-indulgent rock," this quartet just wants you to have a good time and drink from their free keg. 11 p.m.


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Super Happy's Festival Overflows SXSW Itself

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Photos by Altamese Osborne
It sure is hard seeing over... no one.
Oh, Super Happy Fun Land. Can't live without you; can't get inside you...

Despite becoming one of our favorite weeknight music haunts, Tuesday evening wasn't the first time we'd found ourselves sitting in front of the darkened, locked doors of the venue, staring absent-mindedly into the East End and contemplating a Flakey's Pizza from the food truck out back.

Whereas Monday's installment of the venue's SXSW Overflow Festival made a respectable showing, Tuesday's event fell victim to a couple of coincidental mishaps: the cancellation of two scheduled bands -- they start to fizzle out after SXSW is over, we overhead owner Brian Arthur telling a curious attendee -- and a nonexistent crowd, which caused the doors to open a little later than expected. So at approximately 6:30 p.m., we were the only ones there -- well, us and an ear-splitting train that made its way 'round the bend every hour or so.


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The Best Hip-Hop at SXSW 2013

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Photos by Marco Torres
Snoop Lion premiered his movie, Reincarnated, at this year's festival... then rocked Lionfest at the Viceland showcase with Major Lazer.
I remember going to SXSW a few years ago without a place to sleep, less than $100 to spend, no agenda, badge, wristband, or RSVP. I bar-hopped up and down Red River, made friends, snuck into Stubb's, ate cheese pizza and drank Lone Star.

After years of busting my ass as a music photographer and writer, I've been upgraded to staying at the Hilton, carrying a music badge around my neck, and getting exclusive access and invites to the kind of parties, showcases, and backstages that most people can only dream about.

And you know what? Both experiences are equally amazing and fulfilling. Here is my list of the Best Shows of SXSW 2013:

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Austin, SXSW

The Complete SXSW Overflow Festival 2013 Guide: Week 2, Part 1

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Sugar Baron
Ready for another week of the SXSW Overflow Festival 2013 at Super Happy Fun Land? Check out the first half of the second week's musical acts!

MONDAY, MARCH 18
Embers in Ashes: Their single, "Then You Came," connects a metallic, thrashing chorus to a surprising series of mildly sung verses. 6 p.m.

Sky Is Falling: Extremely hardcore rock, per their YouTube video, "The Only Way to Beat a Camper Is By Camping." It should make for an interesting show. 7 p.m.

Suns: Their debut, When We Were Suns, has just been released. Check it out here. 8 p.m.

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The 10 Worst Things at SXSW This Year

Categories: SXSW

This year Rocks Off and DC-9 at Night, the music blog at our sister paper Dallas Observer, teamed up to bring you only the most unfortunate moments from last week's SXSW madness.

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Photos by Marco Torres
Somebody somewhere really did not want us to see Smashing Pumpkins at SXSW.
Security and Cops Gettin' Wild: Look, I get it. Every drunken dickhead in town "knows someone" or thinks he has pull at the door, but that doesn't mean the hammer goes down on everyone. I was stopped by two cops who didn't want me to walk 50 yards from where the Smashing Pumpkins would be playing an hour hence, for unknown reasons.

And then when you want to play the whimpering "I have a SXSW badge, though" card, you feel like a choad and don't. I don't know what function preventing people from walking in the middle of a closed street had, but I hope it somehow saved thousands of lives. CRAIG HLAVATY

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SXSW
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