The Austin Chronicle

River High, Mountain Deep

Live Shots: South by Southwest 2001

Reviewed by Phil West, March 23, 2001, Music

Tahiti 80

Waterloo Brewing Co., Thursday, March15

Let's just get it out in the open: There's something slightly off about French pop. No matter what sound or style, French bands seem to have both Burt Bacharach and the Velvet Underground subsumed in the equation. Paris' Tahiti 80, a bright and poppy band on the bright and poppy Amerindie label Minty Fresh, is no exception. The opening song, "Yellow Butterfly," found singer/guitarist Xavier Boyer rhyming "eyes" with "butterflies," which takes gall, or in this case, Gauls. The first half of the set was pleasant yet somewhat remote, and although the band really does have a song called "Mr. Davies," it seemed somewhat forced on the occasion of the Kinks frontman serving as this year's music festival keynote speaker. An unusually high percentage of Europeans danced around, but there was a shift happening, a sort of subterranean rumble, that fulfilled its promise by the last song. Boyer abandoned the guitar for bass, bassist Pedro Resende proceeded to the drums and then to various noisemaking electronica, and the band launched into a long, absorbing, funky workout that screamed Direction This Band Should Go In. For a moment, they even transcended the law of French pop; Burt Bacharach and Lou Reed were nowhere to be heard.

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