00100, Emo's Jr., Saturday, March 17
Live Shots: South by Southwest 2001
Emo's Jr., Saturday, March 17 Thank heaven the Cult was so insufferably dull. And thank heaven I ran into a couple of other departing rock scribes who tipped me off to a band called the Shins playing Emo's. Finally, thank heaven the Shins weren't much better than the Cult. It was time to salvage the hour by giving former Alarm frontman Mike Peters a look-see at the Atomic Cafe; all that stood between me and him were the four pixie-cute Japanese girls of 00100 on the Emo's Jr. stage. The first thing that caught my attention was the drummer, and she held it captive for, oh, about five full minutes. She owned her instrument, and she knew it. She had a Charlie Watts minimalist metronome, but she stalked her drum kit, toying with it until she would unleash a brief flurry that had the finesse of Simon Phillips and the power of Ginger Baker. Good drumming -- that's usually the difference between "yeah" and "fuck yeah!" Sorry Mr. Peters, there'll be no "Spirit of '76" tonight. Instead it was the beautiful noise that came from this band with the silly name. It was the sound of Bjork that you would actually want to listen to, or it was that of Buffalo Daughter crossed with Sonic Youth in Thurston Moore's more melodic moments. Whereas the fellow countrywomen of Buffalo Daughter find one groove and adhere to it religiously, 00100 isn't afraid to jump in and out of different sonic patterns while mixing and matching tones. It grooved and it moved. It was bright but not tinny, warm but not muddy, and slightly disjointed but not dissonant. Just when it seemed that it might drift off into something hopelessly ethereal, the lead guitarist would unleash a Jimmy Page-style riff followed by a punkish melody and bring things back into the rock realm. Fuck yeah! The showcase was proof positive of the greatest South by Southwest truism: If you want to see something interesting or hear something unlike anything you've heard before, go check out the bands from Japan. Thank you Ian Astbury, because of your band I found 00100, and had the most magical 30 minutes of SXSW 01.
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