SXSW Review: BNQT, March 15, Easy Tiger


BNQT are basically Eric Pulido’s dream team. The band is made up of members of Pulido’s band Midlake alongside Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle and Travis’ Fran Healy, as well as Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and Band Of Horses Ben Bridwell (the latter two weren’t able to join the band for this occasion). With such a roster of talent, you could call them a supergroup (like a 2000s indie version of The Travelling Wilburys or Crosby, Stills and Nash) but more simply than that, it came across as a group of friends who are mutual fans of each other’s work coming together to make music for the sheer joy of it.

During their set at Easy Tiger as part of the Bella Union 20th anniversary showcase, Pulido told some stories about his new bandmates and how their music had an impact on him. He described his unsuccessful attempts to woo girls by playing acoustic versions of Travis’ “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” back in his younger days, and talked about seeing Grandaddy play SXSW many years before and slipping a Midlake album to them, though he didn’t know if the band actually listened to it. Lytle confirmed that they did in fact listen and that Midlake became one of his favourite bands. There was definitely a mutual love and respect going on between the bandmates.

With the three singers alternating between numbers (Healy appreciated the fact that with a band like this, the spotlight was only on him for some of the time), the band played songs from their upcoming debut album Vol. 1 as well as a selection of songs from each band’s career – Midlake’s “Roscoe,” Grandaddy’s “AM 180”, and the aforementioned Travis tune. it was great to hear those songs live in a slightly different configuration, with the addition of that trademark Midlake flute on “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” being a particular treat. This show was a highlight of SXSW and one of the most satisfying performances of the entire week. While the individual band members are obviously all busy with their other projects, here’s hoping they find some time to play a few more shows together in the future.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest