Friday Top 5: Unexpected Appearances at SXSW

It’s March in Austin, TX. It’s the time of year when a particular festival takes over the music capitol of the world, known as South By South West. Since this time last year, we’ve been recovering from the week long flow of free booze, sunburnt skin, worn out shoe soles (and feet for that matter), loss of hearing and lack of sleep; and we’re ready to do it all over again.

The waves of RSVPs are flooding our inboxes and lighting up our Facebook notifications, and before we know it our arms will once again be plastered with multi-colored wristbands. I have only been attending SXSW the past few years, but during that time my friends and I have witnessed many surprises take place and rumors come true. So, here are a few of my favorite.


5. Beastie Boys 2006

In 2006 these hip-hop veterans were in town and possible “surprise appearance” rumors spread like wildfire. Nobody knew if and when they would show up. Crowds of people headed to Fox and Hound that Tuesday, assuming the boys were the “special guest”. Finally, they rounded up at Stubb’s two days later, totally unannounced, and played all of their awesome oldies.


4. Metallica 2009

On SXSW’s 2009 official schedule they were listed as Volsung, a metal band from “Somewhere, Norway”. After die-hard fans caught wind, people were talking about the possible Metallica appearance. Those rumors were pretty much confirmed with the band’s18-wheeler parked outside Stubb’s. They took the stage and announced, “We’re a young band from Norway and we want to get signed.” I may get kicked off the ATH crew for saying this, but I’m not much of a Metallica fan. However, I would have loved to live out that surprise. Bravo for keeping it hush-hush.


3. Queens of the Stone Age 2005

In 2005 there was an invite only secret show at an airplane hangar several miles away from downtown madness, and QOTSA headlined. Robert Rodriguez owns the hangar and uses it for filming his movies. Everyone who attended said these boys stole the show compared to all other SX acts that year. My friend Paul attended the soirée, and said it was an unforgettable show that he got into thanks to his record store job at the time. I love me some Josh Homme, and he definitely knows how to party. Luckily, the boys will be back this year. You think they will try to top their stewardess drink servers?


2. Bill Murray 2010

I got a call from a friend while I was on the East side at the Mess With Texas showcase. They told me Bill Murray was at Shangri La. I’ll admit that I get a little star struck sometimes, and especially for Bill. As he gets up and starts to leave, I ran up to him and said, “Mr. Murray, Mr. Murray (tapping shoulder) can I have a hug?” He replied, “I was wondering when that was going to happen,” and gave me a big hug! Friends watching said he closed his eyes and smelled my hair. One of my proudest moments. Later that night he went back to Shang and got behind the bar to serve some drinks. Come back this year Mr. Murray, please come back.


1. Kanye West 2009

In 2009 I went to Perez Hilton’s birthday bash, and it was my first year to have an official SXSW photo tag and wristband. Whilst finishing up a few snapshots from Little Boots’ set, I noticed Perez and a few others sneak over to the side of the stage right in front of me. Damn right, it was Kanye and his lady (at the time). I was literally a foot away from him, taking photos as fast as possible, which caused Kanye’s body guard to shove my camera down and said, “If you don’t stop that, I’m gonna take you outta here myself”. But I kept going. It was a wild set!



  • Saw Bill in line at Emo’s. Exchanged hellos, offered to let him cut the line, but he didn’t have a badge. Loser. 😉

  • To this day, I still tell anyone who’ll listen about the drunken conversation I had with Scott Weiland at Cedar Street last year.

    But man, hugging a Ghostbuster? You win times infinity.

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