ACL Music Fest Live Shots
Zilker Park, Sept. 23
As music festivals become more instrumental in breaking new acts in the U.S., winning over ambivalent masses in two songs or less is a great gift indeed. Although Sound Team surely benefited from the hometown crowd at their late-afternoon ACL performance, the septet's full-bodied aural drama demonstrated why Capitol Records signed them. With two guitarists and two keyboardists, Sound Team pads their melodies with rich textures, creating a thoughtfully arranged assault vaguely reminiscent of Sonic Youth crossed with Warm Jets-era Brian Eno. At the same time, they work in late-Cold War dance rhythms that straddle the line between New Wave and disco. Despite being custom-fit for orange terror alerts and marauding cyclones, Sound Team performs at too high a level to be considered a contrivance. Moving between guitar and piano, singer Matt Oliver came off as a prime-time frontman, able to lather up the sizable crowd without overly active courtship. Whereas some studio-savvy bands fail to translate live, Sound Team turned songs like "Don't Turn Away" and "Movie Monster" into anthemic forces of nature. Given their well-greased performance groove, all Sound Team needs now is a suitable label push and maybe a song in a car commercial.