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Rewind: SXSW Overflow Mar. 21-22

Submitted by Commandrea on March 28, 2024 – 12:13 pmNo Comment

By Jack Daniel Betz

Although not nearly as well-attended as Austin’s SXSW festival, The Super Happy Fun Land SXSW Overflow series has been providing bands from all over the world gigs here in Houston for the past two weeks. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night were especially lively, despite the disappointing turn out.

Monday night was packed with bands but I only made the second half of the show. The first band that went on was the moody, Swiss noise band Disco Doom. Thunderous guitar and mysteriously oblique vocals marked the performance. The guitar player succeeded gloriously at moments in channeling a Thurston Moore-like tone and rhythm. Then Boston punk band Grass is Green took the stage. Playing with various tempos and well-calculated dissonance GiG came across as worthy heirs to DC punk acts like Fugazi and even at times Bostonians Mission of Burma. Ending the night was another Boston band Visions whose music relied heavily on haunting lap steel tones and highly emotional lyrics. There were echoes of Ben Gibbard’s vocal-style but they were markedly more effeminate.

Tuesday was kicked off by Conroe punk outfit Vigilante. The band’s sound rested somewhere in between The Stooges and Joan Jett and benefited highly from a stellar female vocalist. Korean rock band Apollo 18 played an amazing set full of metal riffs, psychedelic solos, and every rock influenced playing-style in between. Their raw style is reminiscent of a heavier, screamier Electric Eel Shock. It was an honor to have them on our continent. The last band up was an explosive Nevada punk act called Vampirates. It’s difficult to describe the sound but there was a lot of dancing, a lot of headbanging, and a lot of shredding.

Tennessee funk band Space Capone ripped it up at the beginning of the night pulling out all the disco stops with bongos, keys, and soulful falsetto. Dakota Belle Wit, clad in mermaid attire, took the stage to perform some narrative ukulele ballads.  Zoe Boekbinder went up next sporting a vocal style that deftly combines Billie Holiday and Leslie Feist. Her act was particularly interesting given her use of looping and delay. Plus, she was cute as hell. Singer-songwriter duo East Cackalacky Ascetic Marching Death Band played a variety of folksy tunes including a brilliant cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” on acoustic guitar and musical saw. Mal Blum & Simon Littlejohn were, what I thought, was the last band. The duo played some of the sweetest, sentimental, songs I’ve ever heard. Blum’s warbling voice was even occasional accompanied by the dreamy tones of a metallophone played by Littlejohn.
There was also a surprise noise/performance art act by Houstonian David Larry Carol (Black Magic Marker) depicting the passion of Christ in three parts. Carol’s art is jarringly raw and at times even scary but is ultimately, according to Carol, a glorification and not at all a mockery of Christ.

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