SXSW Review: Brandt Brauer Frick, Desire, Kalush Orchestra, March 16, Parish

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Sometimes the most memorable shows end up being the ones you don’t see – the “ones that got away,” as it were. These are the shows that stick out for some reason, often because you regret missing them, but sometimes it’s because you still ended up seeing something great anyways. Such is often the case at SXSW and such was the case on Thursday night at Parish.

With weather conditions either delaying any outdoor shows or cancelling them completely, the Thursday night of SXSW was already thrown into a bit of chaos in general and much of the Panic Manual crew just opted to stay inside, safe and dry, once the rain and lightning started up. Not me though. I rallied and headed out, protected by my rain poncho and only slightly deterred by a brief stopover inside the convention center while I waited for the rain to die down a little. After all, this was Tangerine Dream night and I was determined not to miss it. But, alas, I did miss it.

I arrived at Parish, only slightly damp and ready to take in an evening of music which would culminate in a performance by the German synth masters. Onstage as I walked in were Kalush Orchestra, who I had completely forgotten were on this bill, so I was pleasantly surprised to catch even a few brief moments of the current Eurovision champs in action. But wait, weren’t they supposed to open the show at 8:00? And wasn’t it now pushing 10:00? This complicated matters a bit.

Throwing a further wrench in the works were the delays to Desire’s set caused by some sort of technical issues. These issues were eventually settled and Desire put on a compelling enough performance that culminated in a cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Pretty cool, but still not Tangerine Dream.

Next up were Brandt Brauer Frick, a trio that happens to share a member with the night’s headliners, so in a way, I kind of saw Tangerine Dream, right? At least maybe a little?

A model of German precision and efficiency, the trio took to the stage, each clad in suit and tie, and proceeded to lay down some sweet electro jams. It sounded fantastic and it was pretty impressive to watch the interplay between the three of them. Often, electronic music performances can ultimately amount to just watching someone stand there pressing buttons and twiddling a bunch of knobs, which isn’t always the most exciting. With Brandt Brauer Frick, I really wanted to watch them stand there twiddling knobs.

And then came the moment when I had to make that hard gametime decision – should I stay or should I go? With Tangerine Dream’s initial performance timeslot only about 20ish minutes away, and with Roosevelt still getting the equipment set up for his show, it looked like it would likely be at least 1:00 before the group would take the stage. And having already had a fairly long day, I was starting to fade.

So I called it – no Tangerine Dream for me. So be it. Oh well, at least I came close. Maybe next time. And hey, that Brandt Brauer Frick set made for one heck of a consolation prize, so all in all, not too bad.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest