A camera rig collapsed, a musician attacked a fan, police maced the crowd, and more: Has the conference gotten too big for its skinny jeans?
"Hey riot police, can we just play one song and then we'll promise we'll stop?"
–Sebastien Grainger, Death From Above 1979
When people talk about last year's SXSW, they think back to Bill Murray taking an impromptu turn as a bartender at a hipster bar on Austin's east side. And when they look back on this year's SXSW, they'll remember getting maced at the surprise Death From Above 1979 reunion show.
The talk in Austin is all about whether or not SXSW Music has gotten too big for its skinny jeans. The mayhem at the free Strokes show Thursday night was merely a precursor to several meltdowns and accidents in the days that followed. At a late show Friday, synth-pop act OMD had just come on stage when one of their camera rigs collapsed and injured four in the audience (SXSW said it hadn't known about the filming ahead of time).
There were some truly ugly moments, too, and I'm glad I didn't witness any of them in person. Ben Weasal, a singer from the punk band Screeching Weasal, punched a female audience member in the face (she had spit some kind of liquid at him) and fought against a female staff member before being ejected by security at their showcase at the Scoot Inn on Saturday night. (The Los Angeles Times has a thorough report on the incident, and a video can be seen here). Weasal apologized today, and the band canceled their next show in San Antonio.