I’ll get to the deadly accident that happened Wednesday night @ SXSW, but I’m having a hard time focusing and accepting this tragedy. Here’s how my day went down, step by step, up to the point when it was cut short.
Day 1 was all about settling in and pacing myself. I made a promise to my liver that I’d take it easy this year @ SXSW. That promise was quickly broken on Day 2. I started the windy day at Brush Square for the annual Canadian BBQ. This is where all pale Canadians take a break to soak in some sun and alcohol along with some Texas BBQ. Note: the mac ‘n cheese in Austin is off the hook.
During the BBQ, Andy Shauf from Saskatchewan serenaded us into the afternoon — one of the most impressive singer-songwriters I discovered last year. Right away, you’ll wanna tag his sound to Elliott Smith, but Andy’s all Andy. His music is soothing and his voice floats like morning dew. He’s a bright kid with a bright future.
Next up @ the CDN BBQ was Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red. I’m not used to seeing these guys in daylight but they definitely pressed the right buttons and got me bouncing. They’re First Nations roots were well represented and their pride shined like the warming sun.
Darkness fell upon Texas and my first and final destination for the night was the VANS showcase at the legendary Mohawk club on Red River street. The ridiculous line-up featured Les Claypool of Primus’s new thang called Duo De Twang, along with ††† (crosses), X, the Black Angels and Tyler the Creator.
Here I was in the longest line, figuring it was totally worth waiting for. I missed Les Claypool but heard everything from the street. Sounds like he’s still having fun and trippin’ off some funky mushrooms. It was about 10 p.m. when I was let in the club, not knowing what was going to take place right outside in a couple of hours.
As I walked in, the band ††† took the stage. It was my first time seeing ††† but this was like re-visiting my fountain of youth. ††† are from my former hood in California, featuring Chino Moreno of the Deftones, Shaun Lopez of Far and Dino Campanella of Dredg. We all know Deftones, but I can say Shaun & Dino sort of raised me in what was once my local scene. I actually introduced them to each other years ago at the Press Club in Sacramento. They now tour the world together. I was Dino’s bitch on tour at one point, and he nicknamed me Mikey Business. Shaun taught me how to party and be cool while being straight edge. Sorry about the bragging, but these individuals were a big part of my pruning.
Their sound is similar to Deftones but more experimental, melodic and witch-housey, with a dreamy dark side that speaks to your inner devil.
I then proceeded to watch the band X, but that just hurt my eyes even though they sounded great.
That’s when all hell broke loose & the music stopped. I heard commotion, and then loud sirens. I tried to peep out the front door but the door man told me there was too much blood and everyone had to stay inside. I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of this accident until I saw a big burly bearded barman, leaning on a counter with both hands over his face, wiping away his shock-sweat over what he saw outside his bar. Steps away from where I was were 2 dead, 23 wounded and 5 in critical condition. An intoxicated driver of a stolen vehicle was evading the Austin police and decided to drive through a closed off street, full of festival goers. He literally drove through the line-up I’d been standing in for over an hour. Everyone in the club was told to leave through a back door so we could avoid the murder scene.
This cut my night short, as well as my appetite. I was close. Too close. Life is precious indeed. Stay safe, and like Tupac says, keep your head up at all times.
Stay tuned for more. ■
See all of Mikey’s festival reports here.