Planet Rock

Austin, Texas, SXSW 2005

The Earlies

Maggie Mae's, Thursday, March 17

Slated for a 12:15am showcase, the Earlies had the dubious honor of pissing off lots of buzz mongers who came to see them. Granted, the entire docket at Maggie Mae's was running behind, so when the group finally started playing an hour later, the question was an obvious one: Are they going to make chumps out of those of us who sat and waited? "Sorry about the delay. It's obviously our fault," said singer/keyboardist Christian Madden, somewhat snidely. With that, the Brits launched into "Bring It Back Again," the textures of which were brought to life by the acoustics at Maggie Mae's, thanks to the newly situated stage (the old arrangement sent the sound straight out the open roof). This layout greatly benefited the Earlies' psychedelic pop – dizzying on new debut These Were the Earlies – which has a richness that the eight musicians onstage were committed to preserving despite a few ragged moments during their brief set. Next came "Wayward Song," "Morning After," and set closer "Devil's Country." That's four songs for those of you keeping score at home. So, were we punk'd? Yes and no. Considering the passion and sincerity with which these four songs were played, the audience was certainly poorly repaid for its attentions in terms of quantity, but more than amply compensated in quality.

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