SXSW Review: New Order, March 13, Moody Theater

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

new order
In town to help promote the new Manchester based music festival and conference Beyond The Music, taking place from October 11-14, you could argue that legendary Mancunian act New Order was the headliner for the festival.

Even if they were not, it will be hard for any acts to top the 90 minute set of bangers that New Order put out on Monday night (most bands at SXSW are given 40 minutes)

Having seen New Order four times now (including last September on their tour with Pet Shop Boys) so I pretty much knew what to expect including knowing the song order down to a tee (predictable due to the use of visuals)

You would think that would have diminished it for me- NOPE! Starting with their 2000 hit “Crystal”, the band took the packed crowd at Moody on a journey through their expansive discography of hits. Predictably, the best responses were for “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “True Faith”, “Temptation” and of course “Blue Monday”. Who else can say they saw New Order play “Blue Monday” on a Monday? We can. Everyone was singing along to every song and it was one big dance party.

As per usual, the encore was dedicated to Joy Division and on this occasion we got more than the one tune we got at the Toronto show. “Atmosphere” and “Transmission” were added to the inevitable “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, which I personally love even if it does hit differently without Ian Curtis’ deep voice.

90 minutes of dancing, nostalgia and fun for the sold out crowd – what more can you ask for to kick off SXSW?

For more info about the festival they were here to promote click here.

SXSW Review: Dead Pony, March 13, Cedar Street Courtyard

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

It’s not every day that you hear a band singing the praises of Mad Max: Fury Road as a part of their stage banter, but that’s exactly what Glasgow alt rockers Dead Pony did on Monday night during their midnight set as part of that night’s British Music Embassy programming. And truth be told, that may have played some small part in ultimately selling me on the band. That, and their appreciation for a certain Canadian popstar.

“We wrote this song after seeing Mad Max, the reboot,” said singer Anna Shields at one point. “Have you seen it? It’s a great fucking film.” That sort of off the cuff film fandom, addressing the crowd as if we were all just friends, may have been what endeared the band to me, but of course there’s much more to the band than their affection for post-apocalyptic action flicks. Not the least of which is Shields’ energy onstage as a frontwoman. And offstage for that matter – she initiated several audience invasions over the course of their roughly 30 minute set.

The band also dropped a somewhat unexpected cover song into their set midway through – a cover of Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” that fit in pretty well with the band’s M.O. of mixing chunky riffage with poppy vocals and melodies.

Concert Review: Carach Angren, Rotting Christ, March 5, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


Going to see a band called Rotting Christ on a Sunday night seems rather heretical.

This is, of course, kind of the point. It’s also rather fitting as the Greek black metallers are currently touring behind their latest album The Heretics, an album which one might be tempted to brand a concept album if not for the fact that pretty much every Rotting Christ album has dealt with the exact same concept. But hey, it’s a concept that’s been working for them since the late 1980s, so clearly the whole heresy thing is a winning formula.

Arriving at the venue just in time to catch the tail end of UADA’s set, I was surprised at the quick turnaround between acts and I didn’t have to wait too long until Carach Angren took to the stage. And once they got on stage, it also didn’t take too long for the band to egg the crowd on to take things to the next level. After playing only one song, vocalist Dennis “Seregor” Droomers decided it was time for the sold out crowd to get a wall of death going in the pit.

“I don’t think you believe enough,” he said, adding, “I know it’s packed but I’m not asking – I’m fucking telling!” He would later try to hype the crowd up just a bit more, asking, “Are you ready for a little more aggression? A little more speed?” It’s safe to say that yes, the bulk of the crowd was indeed ready for that.

The crowd was clearly also ready for Rotting Christ, who took to the stage around 10:30. Perhaps a bit late for my old ass on a Sunday night when I’ve got to get up for work in the morning, but the band made it worth my while. Vocalist Sakis Tolis is an engaging frontman and he and the band impressed with a dramatic, energetic performance, with tracks like “Societas Satanas”, “Non Serviam” and “The Raven” standing out as highlights.

Chalk this one up as a win for the heretics.

SXSW Song of the Day – Prima Queen – Butter Knife

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

It’s quite convenient (and annoying) that SXSW often takes place around the same time as NCAA final four, because there is quite a startling amount of similarities. Hear me out.

As a basketball fan, you watch the NCAA Final Four tournament to watch for the future. Who in this breakneck tournament will stand out? Who will be the next Steph Curry? Who is the next Luka Doncic? You watch this tournament analyzing players – Do they have handles? How’s their shot? Do they defend? Is it natural or does it have too much of a hitch (like Michael Kidd Gilchrist). Anyways, you are not looking at the end result, but you are looking at the components that can make someone successful in the next stage of their career.

SXSW is like the NCAA final four, but with music. Aside from the 3 story Doritos stage ten years ago, SXSW is about the next big thing. Part of the fun of it is to look at bands and wonder: Are they gonna be massive? Do they have it? Surely most bands can write one catchy tune, but sometimes out of that you have to wonder if there’s enough there – Do they have a foundation? How’s the song writing? How’s the charisma? It’s one of the most fun parts of being a music fan (and a terrible part of being a musician I suspect).

Anyways, having heard Prima Queen‘s “Butter Knife”, I was very excited. An American-Brit collaboration (just like the 1700s), this duo’s song has a bit of everything – spoken poetry, a harmonized chorus and a string section that just wraps up the song in a nice tidy package and forces you to recognize that this band might be one to reckon with. For me, all these little touches get me excited to see them live. It sounds like a song far more mature than a group that’s only been around a few years should be able to achieve.