Rocks Off

SXSW 04 encore: Saturday showcases and more

The Ends

Beerland, Friday, March 19 As a local band playing SXSW, it's always welcome to showcase at your "home" club. Kicking off Friday's Dirtnap Records showcase at Beerland, the Ends made the most of their spot-on slot with a solid set of crunchy barroom punk rock. The "rock" appellation is a critical distinction here. Vocalist Ian End looks like Divine's foot-stomping son in Polyester and growls like the Toy Dolls' Michael "Olga" Algar, but the local quintet's punk posture is girded by thoughtfully fleshed-out songs and a driving rhythm section that knows better than to play everything at breakneck speed. The Clash influence is obvious, but pop-leaning Brit-punk bands like Eddie & the Hot Rods and the Rezillos may be more apt reference points. Kicking things off with pint-pounding anthem "Jump Ship," the Ends plowed through one spitball after another with factory efficiency before capping the evening off with a raucous version of Elvis Costello's "Radio, Radio." Hometown fans showed their affection by crowding the stage with raised fists. While there isn't much about the Ends that's new or mind-blowing, they're good at what they do. Like the simple pleasure of a cheeseburger, sometimes hitting the spot is more important than redefining it.

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