SXSW review: Maps and Atlases, March 17, Peckerheads

Maps and atlases, SXSW, March 17
Austin, TX – Peckerheads was relatively empty when I strolled in after a hectic Morning Benders set in the always crowded Emo’s Jr. A rock trio was on stage. And after they’ve finished I wondered why no one was preparing for the next gig. It turns out that they have 2 parallel stages, and I had almost missed Maps and Atlases‘ opener when I found out. They drew out a good number of folks considering it’s a Wednesday afternoon. Easily 150 people packed into a room 25’x60′ to see Dave, the furry frontman (our nickname for him is now teddybearman) and the rest of the band play. Similar to (maybe even more so than) Ra Ra Riot, Maps and Atlases hardly follows a lead-in, chorus, repeat recipe. Instead their tunes consist of small guitar/bass and vocal pieces that you might arrange as you like. They follow into each other nicely, but doesn’t sound like any order is necessary. The melody is also not in accord with your expectation, which is very cool to listen to… but being the choir boy I’m at a loss of what to hum when I’m listening to them… it creates a little frustration. My labmate’s favorite from them, the Ongoing Horrible, can literally be played on repeat forever (and is actually the only one I could sing to). Live, they sounded very clear and crisp. I think their strong suit must be the guitar scores. Witch might be everyone’s choice. Their CDs, however, can be difficult to track down. I tried twice to find it without success. Apparently way too few were made in the first pressing – this is from teddybearman’s manager who took a break from dancing vigorously to speak to me. Always a good sign to see that people are into their work! Go and see Maps and Atlases – they are coming to Toronto again in May. Let’s hope they bring that CD pressing machine with them.

Maps and atlases, SXSW, March 17

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest

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