The New Year La Zona Rosa, March 31

Live Shots

The New Year

La Zona Rosa, March 31

It was like they were playing in an open field. Maybe it was all those years of seeing them at Emo's, Dallas' Trees, and even Liberty Lunch, but seeing Bedhead's Kadane brothers in their new band at the sterile, cavernous La Zona Rosa seemed wrong. Bedhead's sound, while often loud and swirling, was never big. Always paragons of thrift and economy, with their white album covers and absence of photos, the ever-modest siblings, fronting their new fivepiece, still create a tapestry of sound often breathtaking in its simple beauty. Having them play a half-empty warehouse-sized facility compromised their intimacy in a way that's hard to put a finger on. Maybe it was knowing that so many gorgeous compositions were bouncing off empty walls, or maybe it's just that it wasn't the homey Mercury, where the New Year put on one of last year's most memorable shows in their Austin debut. Whatever it was, it certainly didn't keep the Bed-heads from reacting with both wonder and joy to the unveiling of "The Dark Ages," one of three songs the Kadanes pulled from the Bedhead catalog. The song is a distillation of the Bedhead sound, containing a natural pulse that grows ever stronger as the guitars shrink away, then return to provide a grand embellishment. Saturday's show also proved why the material on the New Year's Touch & Go debut, Newness Ends, falls in line with the best material the Kadanes produced in Bedhead's seven fruitful years together. Hearing Matt Kadane spout lines like "Ten years later, I'm no more a savior/I still can't convince the dead not to die" in "Great Expectations" was truly poignant. Clearly, the Bedhead spirit remains, but the addition of drummer Chris Brokaw (Come) and longtime Dallas music staple Peter Schmidt along with ex-Saturnine bassist Mike Donofrio adds a more aggressive element to the band's sound. Near the end of the set, they unleashed the boisterous Bedhead favorite "Haywire" off the now-classic WhatFunLifeWas, which quickly flowed into Newness Ends' "Carne Levare," a saturated piece that unfurls at a relatively breakneck rate, punctuated with a decidedly un-Bedhead-like riff that might be more at home on a Fugazi record. But this is not a Fugazi song, and the evening closed with the New Year's finest piece, the album's demonstrative, almost seething title track that's not quite prophetic simply because it's so great: "This is what happens when the newness ends, and you can't see that you won't be that way for me again!"

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