SXSW Quick Reviews: Spoon, Black Lips, New Pornographers, Supermoon, Ramesh

Black Lips

Spoon - The local band made a big impact at SXSW, hosting a residency throughout the week to introduce people to their excellent new album Hot Thoughts. It was impossible to miss them and frankly, why would you miss them? Spoon has consistently been good and this year was no different. Their show mixed new and old, and even with the new synth driven sounds, it’s still a Spoon song in it’s essence. One of the things I like to say about Spoon which might be generic and lazy is that there is no other band that sounds like Spoon and even as the group explores it’s sound, I think that will always be true.

Black Lips – Gone are the days when the Black Lips play insane shows where bodily fluids flew about like an Indian Monsoon. The group is older but still a ton of fun and they proved it with a fun, rocking show at the Cedar Courtyard. The short set featured some new songs and some old classics like “Oh Katrina” and “Bone Marrow.” Even in a tight environment like the Courtyard, the group found space to be creative with Jack Hines sliding off the stair rails to start the show off. For the Black Lips fans that braved their way to the front, they were also treated to some free donuts as well, which is nice.

New Pornographers – If the showcase I witnessed is any indication, the new New Pornographers album will see the band tackle new sonic landscapes with a more synth driven sound. Given their past track record, I say, why not? It was nice to see Neko Case back in the fold at Stubbs on Wednesday night as she joined the group to promote new records and relive old classics. Hearing Neko sing “Mass Romantic” is rather nice although I’ve heard non Neko for so long now it’s kinda of jarring.

Ramesh - For me, I’ll always wonder what happened to Voxtrot. Ramesh’s former band started off with an amazing EP but was unable to maintain momentum. Since then I have seen Ramesh’s name bandied about the music circle but he has yet to establish the foothold he once had. Still Ramesh’s showcase on Tuesday showed flourishes of what made me like Voxtrot – well written songs that buoy between happy and sad while navigating an 80’s pop-inspired musical landscape. The set was good and perhaps this configuration of the band will see success once again.

Supermoon - An all female quartet from Vancouver, Supermoon played fun, guitar driven, almost East Coast sounding rock music at the Canada House on a semi warm afternoon. Clearly a new band, the group showed potential while also showcasing a dry humor and actually ran out of songs rather quickly, despite the crowd wanting more. Not a bad start.

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Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest

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Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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