SXSWXOC

Our annual South By Southwest report

•Yeah, it blew that Ozomatli's Jiro Yamaguchi, Willy Abers and manager Amy Sue Blackman-Romero were arrested on lame-ass charges relating to the band's usual conga line that flows off the stage and out of the venue at all their shows. Even though they did this exact same maneuver at SXSW '99 and nothing happened then, this time, they were met by Austin cops at the sidewalk outside Club Exodus. Apparently, it's now illegal to play music outside without a permit after 2 a.m., even if it's just a couple of feet outside, in this, the town that likes to bill itself as "The Live Music Capital of the World." Worse, an Austin cop claimed he was hit in the head with Yamaguchi's drum, so he's been charged with assault of a public servant—a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. All three were released on bail, and Ozomatli played their set at Stubb's two nights later, and they were quick to capitalize on all the free publicity (which included three stories and a column in the Austin American-Statesman, plus a front-page photo of the arrests) by getting FREE THE OZO 3 shirts printed up and selling them for $25 a pop. At the show, Abers noted all the people who had been coming up to the band and apologizing, which he didn't understand "because where we come from, there's no way we could apologize for the LAPD."

Alejandro Escovedo, the onetime OC resident, played his first show in nearly a year after collapsing onstage in Arizona and being diagnosed with hepatitis C. You'd never guess he was sick—this Sunday-night Continental Club gig was vintage Al and more, full of gorgeous ballads; blazing, distortion-drenched rock & roll; and cameo appearances from crazy castanets players and a wildly gyrating go-go dancer. No "I Wanna Be Your Dog" cover, though, but we did get "All the Young Dudes," which was special and beautiful enough.

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