The High Dials

SXSW live shot

The High Dials

Blender Bar at the Ritz, Saturday, March 18

"We're the High Dials. Are you sick of us yet?" That's how vocalist/guitarist Trevor Anderson began the Montreal psych-pop quintet's showcase. Although the High Dials played four Austin gigs in as many days – undoubtedly diluting attendance at their official set – listlessness wasn't a problem. Nor was resting on the laurels of pop music's past. The HD's are clearly indebted to the psychedelic Sixties, but they expand outward from that, bringing in 4AD-style ethereal flourishes that help keep the sound fresh. Songs like "Our Time is Coming Soon" and "Soul in Lust," from 2005's War of the Wakening Phantoms (Rainbow Quartz), pack a warm resonance live, even in the cavernous soundman's nightmare that is the Ritz. Temporary drummer George Donoso III, currently on loan from the Dears, didn't miss a beat either. As closing time approached, bassist Rishi Dhir moved to sitar and members of Australia's Morning After Girls joined the act for an impromptu jam. The resulting freak-out channeled the chaotic vibe of Flaming Lips and Butthole Surfers shows that took place at the Ritz years ago. Gradual disintegration accompanied by lots of feedback just makes sense in a room like that.

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