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Austin Psych Fest Live (Saturday): Capsula

Bilbao trio gorges on instant converts
Raoul Hernandez, 11:07am, Sun. Apr. 28, 2013
photo by Richard Whittaker
Capsula’s Coni Duchess

Directly under a flight path so low you had to duck to avoid the constant stream of jetliners gliding in overhead, Capsula won the sonic battle first on Saturday’s mainstage. By the time the Bilbao-by-way-of-Buenos Aires trio finished its 45-minute set in a squall of feedback, they’d tamed Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s rocket rides.

A South by Southwest phenomenon several years running, the Basque-based Spanish threesome cooks up a classic rock Paella so buenissimo that all the instant converts were still flash-mobbing the band’s merch table five hours later during Boris’ space age throwback.

Coni Duchess’ full-bodied bass lines fall into earthshaking lock-step with drummer Nacho Sólimo as her husband/frontman/guitarist Martin Guevara steps right out of Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train as a rocker in glam Western garb with a David Bowie yelp. That’s what must have led to the band’s Thin White Duke front-to-back tribute, Dreaming of the Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars, off which sprang Psych Fest’s nervy cover of “Moonage Daydream.”

Capsula’s dark wave rock – surfing basslines, needling leads, and kit-crashing propulsion – pushes the motoring thrust of early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with its own distinct pulse. These aren’t musicians playing at a band, they’re a fabulous gilded snake, writhing on a big stage while plying seismic garage rock.

And forget the Raveonettes’ Scandinavian Spy Who Loved Me Sharin Foo, Capsula’s Coni Duchess remains the face of North America as chiseled into another millennia’s sacred pyramids with low-end magic to match. Penultimate spasm “Communication” flowed molten a la Primal Scream, rising up on its hind legs to look you square in the eye with the fried glow of a grinning archangel.

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