I just found out that not only did Death From Above 1979 have a secret show last night at South by Southwest, but that it turned into a riot with crowds breaking down the fences around the venue and the cops arriving just in time to spray mace and taze the audience. The last time I saw DFA 1979 was years back at SXSW, and it remains one of the best shows I’ve ever seen (so you can imagine my dismay at the news of the secret show).
Only DFA 1979 could cause this type of madness:
Oh well, at least I was in attendance for the other chaotic offering of the week: Screeching Weasel. First off, I’ve never liked Screeching Weasel dating back all the way to high school when my friends Sewer and Duhn would try and force the whiney music upon me. This dislike lives on, yet my two comrades at SXSW this year just so happened to be those same two high school friends. Most of the week they followed my lead on what shows to attend, but there was no stopping us from going to the Fat Wreck Chords showcase. As Screeching Weasel set up on the stage, I came close to leaving to go see Yuck!. Fortunately, I stayed with my friends (on a yucky note, I never did get to catch a Yuck! show).
During the entire set Ben Weasel ranted and raved about how horrible SXSW is (this stance seemed to stem from the fact that the band was only being paid 250 dollars for the gig). He also mentioned several times about what a rip-off it was for fans to pay 20 dollars if they didn’t have a wristband (again, money that his band wasn’t going to see). As much as I agree with his belief that the people behind SXSW charge way too much for badges, wristbands, etc, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by his obsession on getting paid. Bands don’t play SXSW for money; it’s for exposure, camaraderie, and simply being a part of a one-of-a-kind music experience. Oh, and he hates bloggers (how dare he!).
I guess I wasn’t the only one annoyed by Ben Weasel’s constant complaining (a few of his diatribes went for what felt like 10 minutes). Soon people started shouting for him to shut up, he was doused by a beer at one point, and even ice cubes began being flung at him. This pushed Mr. Weasel too far.
Soon after he put a $20 dollar mounty out for whoever threw the ice cubes. A woman stepped forward and admitted the ice-flinging (although the fact that she was a woman has not been verified). At first Ben mumbled into the microphone “I can’t hit a girl” but as she continued taunting him he begged her to come up on stage. Then, of course, it happened:
Reports have come out since that the band fled the scene shortly after and have not been seen since (also fleeing the police). Their show in San Antonio the next night was cancelled, as well as other upcoming shows.
On a final note, my “Best of SXSW” list will come out later this week.