Southern Rock Opera

SXSW 02 Music Fest Wrap-up

Those Peabodys

Ritz Upstairs, Saturday 16 Last year about this time, Those Peabodys were AC/DC. Of course, now everybody is. Judging from the last sliver of their Thursday day-show gig at Emo's, it sounded like this year the local fourpiece wanted instead to be Fugazi. Those comparisons are largely obvious and accurate, but after catching the band's full Saturday night showcase at the Ritz, to oversimplify it that way is doing a disservice to Those Peabodys, because the only thing they really are is ballsy. They not only brought the rock, they pummeled the crowd with it, and pummeled relentlessly. The result was 40 minutes of pure mayhem. It didn't even take until the end of the first song for lead singer and bassist Clarke Wilson to whip both his band and the crowd into such a frenzy that the physical space occupied by the band and the crowd began to overlap. The lack of a stage in the Ritz probably had a lot to do with that, but still, they got right up to speed and never let off the gas. There was none of the wimpy, indie rock thrift store Fender Jaguar nonsense. Adam Hatley and J.D. Cronise both play Les Pauls, which are thick and heavy and the right tool for the job. Why do you think Jimmy Page plays one? While Those Peabodys definitely have the classic rock jones for the likes of Page et al., they play their pulverizing riffs with the naked fury of punk rockers. Sometimes their riffs sit right atop each other for a huge sound, while at other times they mix their dueling guitar lines for that D.C. garagecore feel. It's taut and frenetic, and it forces crowds into involuntary fits of synchronized headbanging. It took all of SXSW 02, but in the last time slot on the last night, there was finally a band that used their stage time like there was something at stake, like rocking was all that mattered before the plug got pulled and the whole thing was over.

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Those Peabodys

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