Photo by Kristen Wrzesniewski
After a whirlwind Wednesday that had me crisscrossing the town chasing interviews left and right, Thursday took on a bit of a different tone. The festival continued on in the wake of the terrible accident that took the lives of two on Red River Street the night before as a car plowed through crowds to avoid a DUI check. With that in the back of their minds, festival-goers stormed the streets of Austin en masse. Seriously, en masse. The sheer number of people who made it out for either SXSW official and unofficial showcases, the iTunes Festival, the MTV Woodie Awards or one of the dozen parties taking place was pretty astounding. Deciding to experience a little more of what was happening everywhere, I hopped the ATX version of a Divvy bike and headed into town where I made my first stop at the Fader Fort for some much needed early cocktails and people watching. After awhile, I left to see what the Woodie Awards was all about since Austin Vesely was a strong favorite to capture his first major film award for ‘Best New Video’ for his work on Chance The Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something”. Before any of that could go down, or I can continue further with the story, I have to mention that the Woodie Awards really have no business being in Austin during SXSW. There is plenty to do and see without quite literally another festival being dropped right inside of it. But, Vic Mensa took the stage to screams as he opened with “Orange Soda” and moved into his up-tempo hit “Feel That”. I left there to head down to the Complex House where Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul took the stage to a packed house that seemed to know more of the words to their songs than they did. In the middle of the Schoolboy Q show, a fan got punched in the face, only to get called out by Q for not fighting back. “Don’t act like a bitch and let him fuck up your day! Do You!” Shouted the TDE rapper before launching into “Man of the Year” which popped the top off the party in a hurry. Scurrying out of there, I met up with a few local Chicago acts and stopped in the Columbia College AEMMP Hip-Hop Showcase which put on for the full breadth of the burgeoning scene in the city. Later that night, standing near where the accident happened a night before, a wall of people, shouting and walking with intense purpose began marching down Red River in a huge crowd. The crowd turned out to be none other than the A$AP Mob, with General Rocky leading the charge. It was weird, but I guess an interesting show of force. Thursday was slow, but Friday is going to be turnt, stay tuned for more and keep up with my experience at SXSW.