SXSW Review: Thee Oh Sees, The Wedding Present, March 14, Red Eyed Fly

Austin – In a lot of ways, rock and roll is really a lifestyle choice – if you want to rock, you really have to dedicate yourself to it.  John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees and David Gedge of The Wedding Present both strike me as guys who’ve dedicated much of their adult lives to rocking –  Gedge has been fronting The Wedding Present since 1985 and Thee Oh Sees have been going since 1997, though Dwyer’s been in a ton of other bands before that, including The Hospitals, who famously got into a pretty violent scuffle with Silver Dollar Room booker Dan Burke a few years back.  I’d say that qualifies as a pretty rock and roll move.

If Dwyer was around back in the ’50s, I imagine he’d fit right in with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – he’s got that kind of over the top stage persona, which probably isn’t even a persona at all, but just him getting right into it.  He and the rest of the band also understand that rock music is essentially about the beat, the rhythm – a fact made quite clear by the band’s stage setup – not one, but two drummers, each placed prominently at centre stage.  The setup made the smallish stage at Red Eyed Fly look even more cramped, but that just seemed to add to the energy and the atmosphere somehow. 

While The Wedding Present didn’t operate with quite the level of wild abandon that Thee Oh Sees put into their set, they certainly aren’t lacking in energy.  The crowd was certainly into it, with many excited to see the band’s first American show in four years.  While they’re currently touring a production of their 1991 classic Seamonsters, their brief set this afternoon was not devoted to that particular album.  Gedge led his crew through a number of tunes from throughout their career, leaving the crowd fully satisfied.  Then again, when you’ve got great bands and free beer on hand, it’s pretty hard to go too wrong.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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