SXSW review: Temper Trap, Dr. Dog, March 19, Cedar street courtyard

Temper Trap, SXSW, March 19, Cedar Courtyard
Austin, TX – Ricky has already mentioned how the panicmanual crew are consistently impressed by Cedar street’s ability to host awesome parties. We saw some of the best shows there last year, including White Lies. Obviously that’s not solely our opinion, so when we reached the tree-lined courtyard, the lineup was 150 strong, past the Truluck restaurant – which really make one wish he/she made reservations for seafood and can just drop into the courtyard afterward. After some baking in the sun, we were ushered in via the backdoor (thank you Filter!) and directly to the front of the house. Delta Spirits had almost finished and the set went quiet for awhile. It erupted again when a Philippino-dude strutted down the side-stairs. I had no idea, initially, who these guys are. And they started playing Sweet Disposition:

sweet disposition,
never too soon
oh reckless abandon like no one’s watching you

a moment, a love,
a dream, a laugh,
a kiss, a cry,
our rights, our wrongs

The Temper Trap, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010

I might add that you can clearly hear these lyrics – which is rare at a rock concert. I think the crowd melted on the spot, and the rest was really history. Temper trap displayed all the right characteristics of a larger-than-life rock band, including just enough theatrics and attitude. The Australian group had already been well-received – 500 days of summer featured the song above, and their songs have had more plays than a lot of the indie bands featured here, also evident by the fact that they’ve sold out at an upcoming show (Mod Club) in Toronto. I guess they’re a Killers kind of band? Their myspace mentioned they are melodramatic – I don’t know about that, but they’re definitely catchy and can be mood-building. Drums are a clear constant in their tunes – the intermissions are often just solo vocal/guitar with drums. In fact there’s a number called “drum song” – which the vocal (who, btw, has a thin falsetto that’s quite good) used as a showcase to wow the crowd – dumping water on the drums and creating something of a taiko moment. When I listened to the album afterward there were a few snippets here and there that I could link to other famous songs – there’s one riff that I can swear is from Hotel California, and I kept wanting to compare their hooks to Thievery Corp., although I don’t know if that’s really appropriate. Also showcased at SXSW was: Love Lost, Down River, and Resurrection. Overall, Temper trap was definitely the surprise hit of SXSW this year for me.

Dr. Dog, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010
Dr. Dog came on after Local Natives, as the anchor of the Filter party. I had listened to them prior to SXSW and expected them to a bit mellow – obviously I was mistaken. The guitars and the bass were constantly wriggling on the stage! Many of their songs actually have a heavy Beatles feel. The Breeze, and Hang on, for example, for me draws parallel with¬† and Mother Nature’s son and Hey Jude. Far from being unoriginal, however, Dr. Dog has their own brand of lifestyle rock; you’d want to: first sing along, then change your outlook on life (regret, break-down, and cry optional) and then go live on the Californian coast with copious amounts of mushrooms. Ok, maybe only I do and I’m projecting. I had doubts that some of the songs can be played while totally rocking out instead of the polite proper rock of Beatles. I guess it works fine. The crowd really enjoyed their energy – evident from the number of people who streamed in to see them. But my pet-peeve is an incongruity between their song and stage presence. Their music deserves a listen aside – there are suppressed tones that suggest good o’times passed, and other quirks that just didn’t come to me while live. Their myspace will give you a very good idea of what I’m talking about. I’m looking forward to Dr. Dog recreating their album’s feeling on stage. That will be very good times indeed.

Dr. Dog, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, South By Southwest

One Response to SXSW review: Temper Trap, Dr. Dog, March 19, Cedar street courtyard

  1. Pingback: Concert review: Temper Trap, March 30, Mod Club | The Panic Manual

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