There's no festival quite like South By Southwest. For four days a year, anyone with even the slightest feigned work-ties to Planet Pop descends upon the Live Music Capital Of The World.
Every March, Austin, Texas is transformed into a carnage-ridden view of all that's to come. Enjoy our pick of the best...
Jaimie Hodgson
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Synth-doom malevolence

The mid-bill slots at a SXSW label hoedown are where you get to witness acts testing the water as they tentatively move their bedroom experiments into the live arena. Understandably this isn’t always to instant fireworks and fanfares. The synth-doom malevolence of Radar’s favourite unsavoury Michigan trio Salem was always going to be hard to translate.

Numerous factors don’t help our pucker-faced pals tonight: firstly, it’s not loud. At all. Secondly there’s no attempt at the ‘extras’ that might ‘enhance’ a live incarnation of such brooding, atmospheric music: visuals, a light show, or even the trippy vocal effects that massacre Jon’s dead-eyed incantations on record. Lastly, nothing’s in time, the three members seeming to play at entirely different paces.

It’s semi-redeemed by Jack’s lolloping rapping mid-way through, but mostly this will be chalked-up as a building block for – let’s hope – much grander darkness to come.



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