Even for a multimedia super-event that brings together gamers, filmmakers, music industry types, bands, designers, press, and what appears to be vacationing, scarf-clad bourgeois (on 80-degree days! slumming in the same food-truck lines as us hoi polloi!), the Austin festival s complications are… excessive. Just registering for our SXSW passes online was a 45-minute process, and lines for shows err, showcases are unpredictable. Varying kinds of credentials are issued, and it s rarely clear which lines you have to stand in and which you get to skip. After 18 hours on the road, and the additional runaround of securing a photo pass, photographer Adam Bubolz and I arrived at some Austin bar just in time to stand in a one in/one out line to see Poli a play in a gravel courtyard. It was a big letdown and an even bigger education in the sheer difficulty of navigating the sprawl that people now insist (was there a memo?) on calling South By. Twenty minutes passed, and we got in and caught most of Poli a s set. If any band can completely capture your attention at a venue that looks like someone s backyard barbecue, they can. But this year, Poli a as it an act as Minnesota has produced in the last few years weren t diving into the fray as hard as they had in the past.
We played just two shows this year at South by Southwest, says Poli a bassist Chris Bierden. We had the luxury of remaining very chill. We ve done the insane hustle before and were fortunate this time around to be able to keep it minimal. I wasn t overly ambitious with what I was going to try to do outside of performing and avoided the most irritating and claustrophobic elements of the festival.
But the SXSW hype vortex is unavoidable, and it can pull in even the very chill. Poli a s other Austin show was scheduled to follow a surprise reunion performance by El Paso emo/prog/punk legends At the Drive-In. Bierden and drummer Drew Christopherson made the mistake of going upstairs to get drinks, and security refused to let them rejoin their bandmates.
Our pleas that we were the next band and needed to get to stage failed to sway them though to be fair, we are not the most assertive gentlemen, Bierden says. So now we re standing there with two whisky sodas and a beer stressed and wondering how the hell we are gonna get our drinks to stage. Thinking quickly, Bierden stowed the beverages in his jean jacket. As we approach the back exit the security guard stops me, he says. A moment of blind panic I am known to crumble under authority. But he just stops us to inform us that we won t be able to get back in once we exit. Crisis averted. Many local bands, like 4OnTheFloor, followed Poli a s lead and limited their number of SXSW shows. But some big Minnesota acts, including Lizzo and Hippo Campus, played at numerous official and unofficial showcases throughout the week, ranging from local clubs to dimly lit conference rooms in Austin s Death Star-like Convention Center. It was there, surrounded by glorious, full-figured dancers in white, that Lizzo put on a consummately professional and passionate performance, even in a venue more suited for PowerPoints on market strategy.
But maybe no one hit SXSW as hard as Mike and Jim Blaha, best known as two-thirds of the Blind Shake. They approached the events with the disciplined intensity that marks all of their creative output, and between the Blind Shake and their two side projects Jim & the French Vanilla, Shadow in the Cracks they played nine shows, some official, some otherwise. After eight trips to the festival, they stick to venues that fit them and avoid most of the SXSW flow.
If you find your scene, it s cool, you see all the bands you know and tour with, says Mike Blaha. But if you want to get douchey, you can get there real fast. Adam and I closed our SXSW with a 1 a.m. Har Mar Superstar set outdoors at Check In Charlie s. It was Saturday night, and we were surrounded by exhausted SouthByErs packing in their final blowouts (and blow-ups). After Sean Tillmann and his R&B revue ripped through an hour of seamless grooves, dancers rushed the stage. Meanwhile the women slinging tacos from the food truck parked in the lot got drunk and rocked out to their junior-high Spotify list.
The last two years have been scaled back from the insanity it was, like it got to be so insane, people playing in this machine, Tillmann says of the event. I think South by Southwest has done a great job of reeling it in and making it more accessible. Tillmann opted to play shows elsewhere in Texas between his SXSW gigs, and at one Dallas performance that week, he was struck by the sight of a young woman in the front row wearing a sterilization mask.
Right during the last song, Lady You Shot Me, I held her hand for a second and I got paranoid that she might have the flu, he recalls. I asked, You aren t contagious are you? She said, No, I have cancer. And I broke down. It was during the last seconds of the song right before I kick back in and we had this crazy moment that put everything in perspective.
Har Mar was wrapping up Lady You Shot Me as Adam and I left the club, trying to beat the rush of people trying to catch bicycle rickshaws through what Mike Blaha called the human/zombie 2 a.m. thing. As we were negotiating with our driver, Cheshire, I turned to see hundreds of people running full speed around the corner from what might have been shots fired. I grabbed Adam to say, Get your camera, but Cheshire shouted, Get in now! and we complied.
At least one person in Austin was making good decisions that week.
A manhunt was launched after two men jumped a G4S security guard outside Barclays Bank in Ferriby Road at 1.20pm yesterday. The two men were still on the run last night after racing away from the area in a red Renault Clio. G4S have said the guard was “badly shaken” by the attack. Those living and working nearby have described the dramatic moment police descended on the scene.
Stephen Hartley, 40, lives right next door to the bank. He said: “We were not here when the robbery happened but we returned at 2pm and there were police everywhere.
“It was quite a surprise to come back to something like this and I was a bit worried. I joked that there must have been a robbery and then shortly after I found out that is exactly what happened.
“I was told it was an armed robbery and you don’t expect something like that round here. I have lived here all my life and nothing like this has ever happened before.”
HU13 Kitchen is just a couple of doors down from the bank and was serving customers at the time. Co-owner Ashley Curtis said: “We didn’t actually see what happened as it is just round the corner but suddenly lots of police arrived.
“One of our customers told us what was going on and it was a big shock. There were at least four police cars at one point.
“It did affect trade as people didn’t want to come where there were lots of police but we did serve quite a few officers cups of tea.”
Bluefin Insurance is situated right next to the bank but staff didn’t realise what was happening.
One staff member said: “We didn’t have a clue what was happening until more and more police arrived and then we realised something serious had happened.
“We saw a forensic team searching the area and the police were here for a good couple of hours. This is normally a really quiet area so it was a real shock to hear there had been a robbery.”
Police have now confirmed they are looking for a red Renault Clio which raced from the scene at 1.20pm. GS4 say they are working closely with police to help bring the robbers to justice. Head of Operational Risk for G4S Cash Solutions, Gareth Skinner said: “On Tuesday one of our cash crew members was attacked during a routine service at Barclays Bank on Ferriby Street, Hessle. Unfortunately our colleague was badly shaken by the incident.
“We are working closely with Humberside Police and I would urge anyone who may have been nearby and seen this attack to get in touch with the police or dial 101 so that those behind it can be brought to justice.”
Barclays Bank closed for the rest of the day after the robbery.
But a spokeswoman said: “We closed the bank for the day following the robbery and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience. But we should be open again as normal on Wednesday.
“Our staff helped the security guard and brought him into the bank and gave him a cup of tea. He was clearly shaken.”
Police say inquiries are underway and anyone with information should call 101 quoting log 277 of March 28.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina s Luke Maye can t go to class without getting a standing ovation nor walk across campus without getting stopped by people requesting to take a photo with him. All because of one shot one that lifted the Tar Heels past Kentucky to reach the Final Four while turning the sophomore from rotation reserve to sudden star.
He s big-time now, junior Justin Jackson said. I feel like we need some security around campus.
North Carolina forward Luke Maye (32) shoots the winning basket over Kentucky s Isaiah Briscoe (13) in the second half of the South Regional final game against Kentucky in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. The basket gave North Carolina a 75-73 win. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Maye headlines a group of players that could emerge as X-factors in determining whether UNC, Gonzaga, Oregon or South Carolina wins the national championship. Don t sleep on Gonzaga s Zach Collins, Oregon s Jordan Bell or South Carolina s Rakym Felder.
The entire year, (coach Roy Williams) has been putting me in the games, wanting me to make good plays, Maye said Tuesday. Some games I hit a shot early, in other games I d just get a rebound or make a good pass. I m just trying to go out there and help my team win as best I can. The 6-foot-9 Maye entered last weekend as a player who has had some good moments including 15 rebounds against Florida State, 13 points at rival North Carolina State but generally played to spell starters Kennedy Meeks or Isaiah Hicks up front.
Yet he had shown a soft shooting touch and the ability to pull defending big men out to the perimeter. And when Hicks got in early foul trouble against Butler in the Sweet 16, Maye became much more than a sub for the Tar Heels (31-7). The guy who came in averaging 5.1 points in 13.8 minutes per game went for 16 points and 12 rebounds in the win against the Bulldogs. Then, with Hicks struggling against the Wildcats in the Elite Eight, Maye scored 17 points the last two coming on that jumper with 0.3 seconds left for the 75-73 win. Maye made 12 of 19 shots and 5 of 8 3-pointers 63 percent in both cases during the two-game stop in Memphis, Tennessee, to lift the South Region s No. 1 seed to a record 20th Final Four to face Oregon on Saturday.
When he sets a screen, most of the time (defenders) are hedging long, Jackson said. So whenever he pops, it s hard for them to find him. So that s huge. And then outside of that, because he s a stretch-4 there s much more room inside for the guards to drive. .. So when he s in there, I think that really helps us.
Here s a look at players who could emerge from the shadows this weekend in Phoenix:
GONZAGA: The West Region s top seed has freshman Zach Collins, a 7-foot McDonald s All-American, coming off the bench behind center Przemek Karnowski. Collins is averaging 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 65.4 percent off the bench, and he s doing it in just 17.2 minutes per game entering the semifinals against South Carolina in a matchup of two first-time Final Four programs. OREGON: On a team led by Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey, 6-9 junior Jordan Bell is averaging 10.9 points and 8.6 rebounds. But after the Ducks lost shot-blocker Chris Boucher to a knee injury during the Pac-12 Tournament, Bell proved his ability to dominate inside by finishing with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in the Midwest Region final to help the Ducks beat No. 1 seed Kansas for their first Final Four since winning the 1939 NCAA title. SOUTH CAROLINA: Rakym Felder is the New York City point guard coach Frank Martin says he wanted. The 5-foot-10 freshman has started just once all year and plays 14.5 minutes per game, but has had some key production in the NCAA Tournament most notably by tallying 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in the upset of 2-seed Duke in the East Region s second round. Felder is shooting a team-best 43 percent from 3-point range while averaging 5.7 points entering the Gonzaga game.
AP Sports Writers Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, South Carolina and Anne M. Peterson in Portland, Oregon, and Associated Press writer Nicholas K. Geranios in Spokane, Washington contributed to this report.