ACL Fest Live Shots
Friday, Sept. 15, Zilker Park
Dressed in black but looking remarkably cool, Montreal's Dears are a melodramatic bunch. The sun and open air do little for the group's symphonic quality as mushy harmonies initially bounced over the midday crowd with opener "Ticket to Immortality" from their upcoming Gang of Losers. By the second song, "Bandwagoneers," the mix flushed out and Murray Lightburn's powerful voice brought a cool, rustic vibe to newbie tracks. "Lost in the Plot," from 2004's No Cities Left, played strong and pretty, though it's hard to be cool when it's this damn hot. A dynamic "We Can Have It" put the Moz front and center as Lightburn's croon matched the grace of a covering cloud. As the kick drum made its entrance, so did the melodica on highlight "22: The Death of All the Romance." Just when the Dears hit a generic stride, "Fear Makes the World Go 'Round" detonated. Closer "Hate, Then Love" sounded like the theme song to some Eighties flick involving fast cars, bad cops, and lessons in love. Dissonance, harmony, and passion don't always match up, but Lightburn's voice is enough to keep us interested.