UV Race - Where on earth is this old school punk rock coming from? When on earth is this rudimentary music coming from? Well Melbourne, Australia to answer the first, but as for the second, I swear I have gone back in time to 1977 and hit the London punk clubs to see some opening band for Subway Sect or Alternative TV. This is as simple and crude as you will see punk rock, these days. It is wonderful that bands still play this way, let alone come half way around the world to do so. These six people should be anarcho-punks playing shows in their squat, not coming out to play the Chaos in Tejas festival and touring the US prior. And as an aside, why bother with SxSW, when you can do a great punk festival or the recently concluded PsycheFest, both of which take place in Austin? There are members here from tonight's headliner and I should have paid attention to see if they were playing alternative instruments or just focusing on keeping it simple. This is the band that will excite you to pick up an instrument, practice for a week and start jamming with them. Yet, they do have some sneaky undercurrent textures played by sax and keyboards with the usual guitars that show some skill and thought beyond the basics. Whatever the strategy, this completely works as a reminder of the basics of rock music and the joy of getting up and playing.
Parquet Courts - And as punk rock grew up over a few years, it started sounding more like this Brooklyn based (with Texas ties) quartet. they somehow manage to mix some jangled guitar into a grinding drone, with the occasional pop hook fighting forward. They sound a bit like Middle Class or the Angelic Upstarts on steroids with a guitarist from Wire. Sprinkle in a generous seasoning of Flipper and you have a sound that is easy on the ears, but keeps your brain working overtime. The quicker songs are more immediate and although the slower songs don't move me as much, they do keep me involved and wanting to spend more time with the band to figure them out further. This band is working up something pretty clever here and could pull in quite a few rock listeners from many different genres. They had the fans up front involved the whole way forward.
Total Control - And with this Australian band, an assured gutsy post punk sound has fully evolved out of this evening. The members play in several other bands, including one from Eddy Current Suppression Ring. This is raw and powerful with an inner strength shining through in every song. The vocals are deep and intense and the three guitars sound a lot more like Ice Age with a bit of Savage Republic than Molly Hatchet, which makes the couple hundred here tonight extremely grateful. The atmosphere is steady, even as they vary the intensity and pace from song to song, which comes from great command of the sound as they push forward without losing control of the core. This is addictive music and completely rounded off the evening as a journey through punk rock stylings that is well beyond historical, and most importantly shows how it can still work in 2013.
Quote of the Night: From the openers... "You know it's going to end bad and that makes you feel..."