Pacing yourself at this live music marathon is key, and by Saturday night it's easy to spot those who probably should have traded the Pabst Blue Ribbon for bottled water days ago. That's not to say that people weren't getting sloppy before Saturday Night, as I saw plenty of face-plants leading up to our two shows on Friday.
Numerous musicians I talked to have decided that this year's SXSW will be the last of it's kind, largely due to the drunk driving accident that killed at least two people and injured 23 more. On Wednesday night around midnight, Rashad Charjuan Owens drove through police barricades and onto Red River Street before running over multiple concert goers. Imagine a car going 70 mph down Beale Street during Memphis in May. Then multiply the crowd by 5 times. A rumor started circulating on Saturday that two additional people who were hit in the accident had died, and that authorities had elected to keep the news quiet to avoid any rioting by festival-goers.
This terrible tragedy began to raise the question that performers have been quietly asking themselves for years: "Has SXSW gotten too rowdy and too big for it's own good?" The answer is yes. Each year I've been, the crowds get bigger, the antics get more ridiculous (Lady Gaga got paid $3 million dollars to play SXSW and have someone puke on her) and the charm gets watered down. Even if this may be the last year before a drastic change at SXSW, there were many memorable moments, and many moments I'll never remember. Here's my top ten for SXSW 2014.
1. The Secret Prostitutes at Beerland, Thursday, March 13th.
2. JC Satan at Spiderhouse, Saturday March 15th.
3. Ty Segall at Street Legal Guitars, Thursday, March 14th.
4. Zig Zags at Spiderhouse, Saturday, March 15th.
5. Burnt Skull at Trailor Space Records, Saturday, March 15th.
6. Tyvek at Beerland, Thursday, March 13th.
7. Destruction Unit at Spiderhouse, Saturday March 15th.
8. La Luz at Street Legal Guitars, Thursday, March 13th.
9. Not seeing Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Jay Z or any other mainstream artist at SXSW all weekend.
10. Entrance Band at Spiderhouse, Saturday March 15th.