The night started on what felt like Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Our thick-calved pedi-driver (a former New York bicycle courier) weaved in and out of traffic, driving in circles cutting off cars in the middle of busy intersections. The turning radius on a pedi-cab is impressive. There are hundreds of music venues hosting SXSW events in downtown Austin so the trek from show to show can be a journey.
We quickly arrived at Antone's, a musky venue blasting hip-hop music. We catch Hopsin, with his albino contacts he's suited for a creepy sideshow or maybe a walk on role in The Walking Dead. He belts out angry tunes slamming Eazy-E's wife's record label, Ruthless Records for not promoting him enough and "almost making him homeless" before he found the independent label Funk Volume.
Next up at Antone's was the main event, New York's Dead Prez. Self proclaimed revolutionary hip hop. They had a soulful vibe and their song "The Beauty Within" was pure poetry. The crowd roared and moshed to their song "It's bigger than Hip Hop." The highlight of Dead Prez' show was when band member stic.man brought his young son, Hwela Ibomu, onstage to play guitar riff covers of Marilyn Manson's version of "Sweet Dreams" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Our next pedi-cab driver was able to exercize a little more restraint on the road, dropping us off safe and sound at Mohawk sponsored by House of Vans. We were disappointed to discover we had just missed Iggy Pop and the Stooges, FAIL.
Sky Ferreira was setting up. Sky (a 20 year old pop singer-model-actress who can claim the late Michael Jackson as one of her mentors) was having an off night. She cried into the microphone between songs about her messing up lyrics and her voice being out, and was stumbling around stage. Halfway through her set, she burst into tears and abruptly exited the stage.
Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang fame picked up the slack and had the place in a riot. He played all of the Wu-Tang favorites including my personal favorite Gravel Pit and loads more. Fans from all over were pleased, his place in hip-hop history was made clear to me that night. Wu-Tang fans really are dedicated. After a classic SXSW night, we headed home around 3:30am, still buzzing from the excitement of one of the largest music festival in The States.
By Helen Weaver & Caterina Caligiuri
You can also check it out on The Santa Barbara Independent here