Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., March 18, 2005
Stubb's, Thursday, March 17
UK's newest hopefuls the 22-20s are onto something, but it may be too soon to tell exactly what that is. Halfway to the Hives and pivoting tightly around electrifying Southern blues, the baby-faced fourpiece delivered high-energy, solid-body Fender rock from a tense and anxious hip. Churning through a four-chord powerhouse off their upcoming eponymous debut on Astralwerks, the straight-faced Martin Trimble wailed through "Such a Fool." Trite lyrics aside ("You always hurt the ones you love the most"), "Fool" welcomed a much-missed element back into the rock spectrum: soul. Of course, when the boys slowed things down for "Baby Brings Bad News," a simple and honest blues ballad, that soul came to a standstill. In this arena of attention-deficit Americans, quick-tempo rock is the way to go. So it went, and with the drummer banging his kit so hard it must've drawn blood, "Shoot Your Guns" started the deicing. The rollicking "22 Days" brought a bassist with Jagger moves to life, but it all coalesced with the blast of "Devil in Me," a beating blues anthem classic in structure, but all rock & roll in method. The chugging of Trimble's Fender bounced the crowd in tandem, as the drums tightened, loudened, and finally exploded. As the 22-20s became a double espresso to the early-night audience, SXSW was served a cup of what might be to come. If they can drum up the vibration of their set closer in every song, show, and LP, the 22-20s might not be eighty-sixed in the land of plenty. Testify.