Gary, Author at The Panic Manual

SXSW Review: The Orielles, March 18, The Courtyard

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Connecting instrumentals with lyrical singing is not always simple. The Orielles are an interesting band in their apparent lack of attempt to blend these two components. The instrumental aspect, particularly the synth, is the mainstay, but the singing is dosed in and used as an instrument. There is a free-wheeling carefreeness to the way the vocals are delivered. Since the voice does not need to hold up a melody, there’s no need to be pitch perfect nor sustain long lyrical …

SXSW Review: Thao, March 14, Central Presbyterian Church

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Thao & The Get Down Stay Down were an alternative rock band that had been around since the early 2000s. While they put out an album, Temple, during the early months of the pandemic, even making quite a splash with a Zoom-based official music video for the single “Phenom”, they decided to dissolve and go their separate ways in 2021. Fast forward to 2023, this night at the Central Presbyterian, Thao played a selection from that album for a select …

SXSW Film Review: Wild Life [Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, 2023]

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Doug Tompkins, his wife Kris, and their close circles of nature-loving extreme athletes (climbers, surfers, skiers, kayakers… you name it, they’ve got it) rode the wave of entrepreneurship and popularized their ’70s free-spirit lifestyle into products that are still going strong today. This exulted C-level cast may bring people to this documentary to romanticize about dinner-con-night-walk along the Seine and all the other million things that seemed so easy to go right when the stakes are low. Yet, in reality, …

SXSW Film Review: Northern Comfort [Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, 2023]

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If this was the story of five strangers coming together to help each other overcome their fear of flying, it would have been a sorry premise for a feature movie. So director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson transported this flight of misfits, warts-and-all, to Iceland, and let them loose. And of course mayhem ensued: where’s the fun in not satisfying the viewers’ m-ice-maze schadenfreude? Northern Comfort is a simple and lovable film. There isn’t a groundbreakingly complex truth that would only be …