SXSW Review: Quiet Slang, March 14, St. David’s Historic Sanctuary

Quiet Slang, March 14, SXSW 2018

“We’re usually drunk and reckless when we play. Tonight I’m going to try and be less drunk and reckless.”

So said Beach Slang frontman James Alex at the outset of the debut performance of Quiet Slang, his new side project offering up acoustic versions of his main band’s usually more raucous compositions. Hence the name. It was certainly a change for the guy who wrote the lyric “The night is alive, it’s loud and I’m drunk.”

It was clearly a unique show and a special night for Alex – he was living in the moment and savouring every second of his time on stage. “Wow, that’s the first time we ever played a song together” he marvelled after the first song, clearly quite elated over what they had created together. Alex noted that he almost wished he could be out in the audience just listening to it all and at one point even seemed amazed at how good it felt to hear one of his bandmates count in the beginning of a song, a la The Ramones (but, y’know, if The Ramones included a string quartet and piano instead).

Impressively, Alex revealed that they had only rehearsed for just about half an hour and that he had only met the string section roughly an hour before they would all be playing together for the first time. “I felt like we went from ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ to Sgt. Pepper’s,” he said as he thanked the audience for “accepting the change.” It’s hardly surprising though – it all came together quite nicely, transforming the band’s raucous punk anthems into gruff yet pretty arrangements that only made Alex’s lyrics stand out more.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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