Tyler, The Creator Almost Started A Riot At SXSW

By Chris DeVille / March 14, 2014

One contender for the most thrilling performance I’ve ever witnessed at SXSW was Odd Future’s show at the Scoot Inn in 2011, the year the chaotic skate-rat rap crew was all anybody could talk about in Austin. It was total madness in a good way — the kind of anarchy you want out of a punk show, where everybody wilds out but nobody’s in serious danger. Tyler, The Creator played the same venue Thursday afternoon at this year’s SXSW, and it sounds like he almost incited chaos of a less manageable sort. Spin‘s Garrett Kamps was there:

The trouble began moments after the MC opened his set in the usual fashion — the wrong beat starts, someone yells “I fucked up,” they start over – before shouting out the hundreds of folks crammed outside the venue pressed against the perimeter.

“All you guys back there that can’t get in,” he said — then implored the mob to bust down the gates. There was a split second when it seemed like the crowd wasn’t going to do it, a possibility Tyler extinguished as he led the audience in a chant of “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!”

And just like that, hundreds of people came rushing through the gates. I happened to be directly in their path when they did, and it felt like being hit with a wave: I pinged off this person and that person before stabilizing myself and catching my breath. I noticed the futile attempts of the security guards: a shit-kicker Joe Arpaio-type at the door tackled someone; another, meeker dude tried a clothesline that didn’t work. It was of little use: the handful of guards were pushed aside like twigs in a flood. Someone came rushing to the sound booth where I’d moored myself and yelled at the sound guy to turn the music off. He did. I looked behind me and, to my horror, saw that they were locking the gates.

As Kamps notes, pitting an overcrowded concert audience against security the day after a deadly hit-and-run is not the best look. Read the full report here.

[Photo by Rahav Segev/Getty Images]