SXSW Review: The Zombies, March 15, Stubb’s

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest | Leave a comment


Ten years ago, The Zombies made their first trip to Austin for the 2013 edition of SXSW. I saw them that year, and was impressed that this band that has been around since the early 1960s were making their way from showcase to showcase like a band of hungry young twentysomethings rather than established legends of the early British rock scene. Clearly they must have enjoyed it though, as they returned a couple of years after that and were back again this year, with a new documentary on the band airing as part of the festival and with an upcoming new album, Different Game, due out later this month.

Alongside a handful of other shows this week, the band played a headlining set at Stubb’s on Wednesday night, running through a set full of classics like “Tell Her No”, “Care of Cell 44″ and “She’s Not There.” I took note of the fact that, ten years after seeing them for the first time, singer Colin Blunstone still sounds fantastic. A lot of singers seem to lose a bit of range after many years in the game, but Blunstone can still belt out those tunes much like he did in his younger days.

So yeah, to borrow a phrase from their 2015 album, The Zombies have still got that hunger. Or, to borrow a phrase from John Wick, the latest edition of which also premiered at SXSW, I’m thinking The Zombies are back. And they still sound pretty great.

SxSW Film Review: Evil Dead Rise [Lee Cronin, 2023]

Posted on by Gary in Reviews, South By Southwest | Leave a comment


To write a synopsis of the plot of an Evil Dead movie would be a disservice. A plot is not why one goes into a theater swimming in the exhaust of a couple of hundred other human beings. One wants entertainment. And the crowd response for the premiere of Evil Dead Rise at SxSW certainly confirms that.

Production budgets have steadily risen along with inflation and other lamentable things since I last saw a horror b-movie. Of course, set designs and computer generated graphics have also risen to replace on-location shoots and stop-motion animation. So, this is certainly not your fathers’ Evil Dead. Character motions are now more subconsciously unsettling than ever thanks to the resolution afforded to this new outing.

Artistically, Ash’s cabin was a crumbling pile of sick ominously waiting for disgusting things to dress it up. But the setting for Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise is a stylish gothic high-rise apartment, oddly clean for the many filthy demonic creatures it gestates and gave birth to over the film’s 1.5 hr run time. The apartment door around which much of the tension revolves has art deco detail and moulding, and even the bank vault shutting The Book in for safety was saturated in deco designs. It lends an insidious vibe to the film that even the minimalist places can be readily tainted.

And covered they were. Gore has never been more abundant since the days of Super-Soaker blood canons under the armpits. But as with the setting, Rise is measured in its treatment of gore. There is no lack of it, just not a gratuitous flood of the red stuff every time someone’s knee was nicked by an ant mandible. What Rise has in spades is a twisted (spoiler: motherly) malice to back up the gore. One of the quirks of the Evil Dead franchise has always been the absurd comedic moments – previously we had animated but temperamental disembodied parts. Here, lighter elements come in the form of dispatching of the supporting cast. It is also incredibly light-footed with a swift story progression, and before we knew it, The Book had moved on to the next victim.

The Q&A heckler aside, by the end of credits this was a rapturous and gore-fed crowd. Time will tell if the pace and presentation change is to the benefit of the franchise, but I dare say the trusty chainsaw now has a worthy nemesis in the innocuous and mundane cheese grater. Let’s see whether it makes it into the next film that picks up the torch, ahem, I mean chainsaw.

SXSW Review: iLe, March 15, Radio Day Stage

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment


For the most part, I think the Grammys are useless and pretty much a poor indicator of anything in terms of the music I particularly like. However, in the context of international music, where there are less yardsticks I am aware of that can be used to assess quality, The Grammys could be of moderate use.

When I saw that Puerto Rican musician iLe was playing the Radio Day Stage at SXSW, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but when I saw that she was Grammy approved then I was like “sure, why not?” That was a good decision.

In Austin to promote her new record Nacarile, Ile put on a fun afternoon show that had the crowd moving inside the cavernous stage that is Ballroom A

iLe sang tracks that included ballads, synthy pop numbers and what I can only describe as tropical vibe tunes, all while dancing what I think is salsa or something Caribbean on stage.

A pleasant time.

SXSW Review: Overcoats, March 14, Cheer Up Charlie’s

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment


Indie pop duo Overcoats brought harmonized vocals, choreographed moves and just good vibes to their show case on Tuesday night at Cheer Up Charlies.

The group’s harmonies reminded me of Lucius, a band I adore for their vocal-heavy blend of pop, folk and other genres. The intangible part of Overcoats’ show was Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell’s chemistry on stage – the duo was clearly having a blast up there and that really delivered a jolt to the crowd, many of whom were probably on hour nine of seeing live music. All in all, Overcoats were a fun time.

The group’s new album Winner drops April 7 and was produced by Daniel Tashian (a co-producer on Kacey Musgraves’s acclaimed Golden Hour), so you know they’re on the up and up.