SXSW 04 encore: Saturday showcases and more
AtashCaribbean Lights, Saturday, March 20 "You guys have four minutes," nudged SXSW, reminding Austin's Atash to start on time. Such is the onus on the first band of a showcase-packed night, lest they delay the stacked schedule. Good thing, then, that this worldly collective doesn't require electric power to enliven a room, since a few sound tweaks occurred during commencement. Yet all was well when lead singer Mohammad "Mo" Firoozi intoned, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen." Over the band's warm waves of harmonic energy minor Gyspy jazz melodies and Mediterranean rhythms Mo's golden voice floated, light as air, then curled like water lapping on a soft rocky shore. Local audiences may have experienced the band's more energetic states, but Atash didn't disappoint, sampling from their Austin Music Award-winning debut, Republic of Love. Perhaps too focused on punctuality, the quintet finished 38 minutes into the hour, giving up enough time for an encore. Odds are they were just being courteous to the other artists on the bill, including the following act, their flamenco friends Teye & Belén. Which just proves that Atash's approach to life is like their music: divine.