SXSW Friday: Morello occupies and El-P riots while Counting Crows head down"Thunder Road"
SXSW takes over Austin for nine days, but it only tips things over into the realm of “completely apeshit” on the final two nights.
Friday ended for some with Bill Murray dancing on a bar at The Stage On Sixth at the end of Jack White’s second set. For others, it was the night Eminem’s surprise appearance at the Shady Records showcase officially become SXSW 2012’s worst-kept-secret.
On Red River, Tom Morello’s Occupy Southby showcase was about as peaceful and releaxed as an official SXSW Showcase that featured somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 of the great unwashed non-badgeholders (our rough count) standing outside of Swan Dive, watching a live projection of the events inside beamed onto the wall of the venue, listening on a collection of speakers dubbed “the people’s stage,” and holding a giant banner that read “Fuck The Police” facing out to the wall of cops. No violence, just some rock ‘n roll.
There was no violence earlier in the night, either, at the warehouse at 1100 E. 5th St., even if rapper El-P tried to spark an ongoing chant of “Bullshit! Bullshit!” after getting the hook 15 minutes into his set.
Some fans cheered him on for protesting the venue’s utter lack of organization (every performer before him seemed to run 10 minutes over their allotted minutes, and have you ever known a rap show to start on time?), but mostly the crowd just seemed glad that the venue was reigning in the problem before Scrillex’s midnight headlining slot, sacrificing El-P on the alter of dubstep.
Meanwhile: things were a lot more laid back at Auditorium Shores at the start of the evening, as Counting Crows headlined to a crowd of thousands. The venue seemed to clear out two-thirds of the way through the band’s set after they played their 1993 breakout, “Mr. Jones.”
But the dedicated who stuck around got the treat of hearing Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” interpolated into the band’s closer, “Rain King.” It’d have been a fine tribute to the Boss’s ACL Live performance the night before if the band hadn’t been finishing sets that way for over a decade – but as it was, it felt appropriate nonetheless.