Depeche ModeBrazos Hall, Friday, March 15
On Wednesday's SXSW Interview panel, Depeche Mode spoke of its Festival showcase with a certain air of curiosity. For the veteran English trio, stadiums are par for the course, and while a warehouse in Austin pales in comparison to normal venues, the electronic OGs played with the same grandiosity for an hour. Dave Gahan slinked around stage, still every bit the frontman he was in the band's Eighties/Nineties heyday. SXSW could be the smartest promotional stop for upcoming album Delta Machine, with new cuts "Angel" and "Heaven" evincing the same noir blues electro spirit as Violator, if not exactly the same audience reaction. When Gahan and company began "Personal Jesus," it came off like a striptease, slow and sexy until just the right moment – "Reach out and touch faith." The room vibrated, the iconic riff that drives the song giving off waves of energy. The band dipped back into its 30-year catalog with "Walking in My Shoes" and "Only When I Lose Myself," but the closer and highlight was another Violator track. Gahan could've pulled off "Enjoy the Silence" without singing at all, but his unmistakable croon melded with the collective voice of the crowd for a deservedly epic ending.
Muisc Artist: Depeche Mode