SXSW Review: Wild Flag, March 16, Waterloo Records

Austin – As I was watching Wild Flag play their first show of a few that they’ll be doing for SXSW, a thought popped into my head – not only was this the second indie rock “supergroup” I had seen perform in as many days (Mister Heavenly being the other) but it was also the second band to feature the star of a TV show. Yes, besides being guitarist for Wild Flag, Carrie Brownstein is also featured in sketch comedy series Portlandia. However, unlike Mister Heavenly’s Michael Cera, I would doubt there are too many who know her better from her television appearances. And if there are, please do yourself a favour and listen to some Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney.

In addition to Brownstein, Wild Flag also features her former S-K bandmate Janet Weiss as well as Mary Timony of Helium and Rebeca Cole of the minders. As a band, they had pretty good chemistry onstage.  Brownstein and Timony shared the role of frontwoman, each taking the lead on various songs. Cole and Weiss held things down on keys and drums respectively as well as adding harmonies throughout. Despite being a pretty big Sleater Kinney fan, I had never seen the band live when they were around, so I was looking forward to this show. At first I thought, “OK, it’s good, but maybe not great.” This attitude changed as the set went on and by the time they made it to “Glass Tambourine” and it’s ’70s styled hard rock riffage, I was sold. 

The most memorable moment of the set came early on though, when Brownstein did one of her many kicks onstage and kicked her guitar cord right out. Weiss was impressed, commenting how she had never done that in all the years they had been playing together. Brownstein commented that she would probably do it again and addressed the audience: “Do you expect this to be pretty? At a rock show?” It may not always be pretty, but Wild Flag certainly did impress me with their performance.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, South By Southwest