Toast Of Texas. Aces Lounge, Austin. Thursday, March 19
Of all the dingy bars and spit’n’sawdust pubs, Aces Lounge is perhaps the oddest SXSW venue of them all. The stage is set in a corner of the flashy club, behind the bar, so that throughout the show grinning barmaids jig away at the bands’ feet while serving drinks to the rotating front row. It’s a worry that this could lead to some kind of unhygienic bartop grinding like in Coyote Ugly. Thankfully, the only ones allowed to show off tonight are Cornish trio Rosie And The Goldbug, whose razzle-dazzle limelight-stealing is Broadway-worthy.
Frontwoman Rosie Vanier is living, kicking proof that a lot of effort goes a long way, layering up shiny leggings, a blue-and-white swimsuit with strategic bum ruffles, yellow vest and fire-engine red belt, topping it all off with a sequinned pill-box hat and dazzling showgirl smile. You wouldn’t wear it down Sainsbury’s, yet under the spotlights it’s less ‘crazy lady who dressed in the dark’, more electro-fantastic Liza Minnelli in Cabaret. The Goldbug have pulled out the stops too; bassist Pixie wears Adam Ant warpaint while drummer Plums is backcombed to the hilt and in a Betty Rubble blue dress that perfectly matches her primal, cavewoman-with-class drum bashing.
We’d be in trouble if this was all they had to offer, but Rosie And The Goldbug sound as electrifying as they look. Their electric rocket pop and mini-melodramas of songs daze the frugging SXSW crowd, who are more used to diffident muso chaps rocking out in plaid shirts. Set opener ‘Butterfly’ sees Rosie alternately squeaking like Lene Lovich and heartfully howling like Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer. The strutting ‘Model’ is a Gossip Girl take on David Bowie’s ‘Fashion’, with Rosie hollering and tossing her razor-sharp Louise Brooks bob like the raucous Technicolor sister of the monochrome, sedate Ipso Facto gang. Finishing with the twitchy, heavy Italo rumblings of ‘Heartbreak’, Austin’s just been dazzled, Cornwall style.