One More Time

Wrapping up SXSW 03: Saturday Showcases

The Locust

Emo's Annex, Saturday, March 15 Finally, a real SXSW buzz band! Clad in brown pullovers and masks with mesh bug eyeholes, the Locust does its best to mimic the altered sensual perception of the insect phylum. Anyone who came to check them out just because they're the newest signing to Epitaph Records' Anti imprint probably ran away in horror: the twittering bleeps, ultrafast thrashing, and herky-jerky stop-start shenanigans letting everybody know that, yes, there was something seriously wrong here. This San Diego quartet has been known to draw quite a polarized response, and it was illustrated dramatically under the Emo's Annex tent. There were some very vocal hecklers in the back, telling the Locust to buzz off even as the diehards in the front were going ape: stage-diving, rafter-hanging, the whole nine yards. No time for fooling around when the Locust plays, because the songs are over before you can say "Gluing Carpet to Your Genitals Does Not Make You a Cantaloupe," or any of the other absurd song titles on 2001's puzzling 10-minute, 11-song EP Flight of the Wounded Locust. The sheer speed of the grinding riffs is impressive, but it's the fits and screeches of the mutated Moog that infest the cake, a horrifically odd oscillating squeal reminiscent of Whitehouse's power electronics. Kudos to Epitaph's Brett Gurewitz for unleashing this plague on the rest of the musical world, making them labelmates with Merle Haggard and Tricky. Maybe he's on to something. Packing more than 20 songs into a 20-minute set, the Locust is the flagship band for the A.D.D. generation.

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