Austin, Texas, SXSW 2005
Elysium, Friday, March 18
Having played exactly one U.S. show during their initial 1976-78 tenure, the Rezillos' SXSW showcase didn't disappoint in the least. Opening with their debut single, "I Can't Stand My Baby," the Scottish pop-punk quintet connected with the head-bobbing crowd as though they'd never missed a step. Vocalist/guitarist Eugene Reynolds sported sideburns resembling Fifties tail fins, while Fay Fife (one of the most underrated female vocalists to emerge from the punk era) opted for a more space-age look highlighted by triangular green earrings. Of the classic Rezillos lineup, only bassist William Mysterious was MIA. The equally mysterious Johnny Terminator filled in capably, providing a counterweight to guitarist Jo Callis' high-wire antics. For a band that only released one album, 1978's Can't Stand the Rezillos, their set was jam-packed with crowd-pleasers. "Flying Saucer Attack," "Getting Me Down" and "Mystery Action" were just a few of the highlights. The Rezillos also played some newly written tunes, including a lovelorn Fife-driven vehicle called "Crash My Car." Their cover of the old Fleetwood Mac gem "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight" sent the floor into a slam-dancing frenzy. Unlike their more politically driven contemporaries, the Rezillos' sci-fi, comic book rock & roll was about having fun. As such, it translates to today without seeming any more nostalgic for days gone by than it was to begin with. Satisfying as this showcase was, Saturday evening's all-request in-store at Cheapo Discs was even better. Let's hope it's not another 27 years before they grace our shores again.