The Worst of SXSW
Security and Cops Gettin' Wild: Look, I get it. Every drunken dickhead in town "knows someone" or thinks he has pull at the door, but that doesn't mean the hammer goes down on everyone. I was stopped by two cops who didn't want me to walk 50 yards from where the Smashing Pumpkins would be playing an hour hence, for unknown reasons.
Photos by Marco Torres Somebody somewhere really did not want us to see Smashing Pumpkins at SXSW.
See also: The Best of SXSW
And then when you want to play the whimpering "I have a SXSW badge, though" card, you feel like a choad and don't. I don't know what function preventing people from walking in the middle of a closed street had, but I hope it somehow saved thousands of lives. --Craig Hlavaty
All the Garage-Rock Acts: Should just pool their beer, weed, and cigarette money together and start sending the Black Lips royalty checks. I steered clear of every obnoxious surf-, fuzz-, buzz- and ADHD-plagued group I could, and still some of it made its way into my earholes. I would say I am ready for the next big movement, but what if it involves garage and dubstep? What then? --Craig Hlavaty
The Constant Noise: Did you know there is a lot of live music in Austin during SXSW? There is a lot. So much, in fact, that the din reaches a sufficient pitch as to drown out the more feeble buskers. I saw a tired dude playing acoustic guitar, muted completely by the nearby patio stages and the distant rumble from the monolithic vending machine or whatever and the hundreds of people rushing by, talking loudly on their cell phones. --Kiernan Maletsky
Marco Torres Note: This is not the Flaming Lips. (It's Diplo.)
The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips are one of my favorite bands, so I knew I would see their set at SXSW this year. The psych-rockers closed out Friday's free Auditorium Shores show, making their mark by playing their fantastic new record The Terror in its entirety.
So why is this in the "worst of SXSW" post? Teasing. Just before playing their anthemic "Do You Realize?" to close out the show, Lips front man Wayne Coyne began to tease the crowd relentlessly that Justin Timberlake would be joining them on the song. He then ran backstage, ostensibly to bring out JT.
Most of us were unsurprised, despite some glimmers of hope, when Coyne showed up with a decidedly heavier-set man in a green mask. Coyne pulled the mask off to reveal that it was instead My Morning Jacket front man Jim James, who had played an uninspired opening set earlier in the night; a cruel, yet ultimately hilarious joke. --Corey Deiterman
The Hype Hotel: On Wednesday night, the Hype Hotel featured a night of hair-melting music: Phosphorescent, The Orwells, Jim James and Foxygen for the Aquarium Drunkard day party. That party was sponsored by Taco Bell, which means cartons of Doritos Locos tacos and bean burritos and correspondingly long lines to the bathroom.
The Shame Taco
Trust me, I love me a cheese-dusted taco shell, but coupled with the massive "Feed the Beat" bat signal floating on the wall, and the bizarro-massage station (which, by the way, was directly in front of the bathroom. Why, why, why would you want a public massage at night in the middle of a concert venue) made the Hype Hotel feel like a bad Vegas casino. --Nick Rallo