SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 14, 2008
The WhigsAustin Music Hall, Thursday, March 13
There's nothing fancy or new about the Whigs. Still, their just-released second disc, Mission Control (ATO), fires muscular pop that recalls the halcyon days of Nirvana and the drunken rage of the Replacements. Live, the Athens, Ga., trio kept the roar coming for nearly 45 minutes, breaking only for a couple of piano-based meditations that reached mighty crests. An early high point was the explosive "Already Young" with drummer Julian Dorio's flailing and frontman Parker Gispert tunefully wearing some teenage angst like a medal. "Sleep Sunshine" had a carnival feel with Gispert at the piano and the reverb turned up high. At times, his vocals were swallowed by the cavernous acoustics of Austin Music Hall, which still resembles an airplane hanger despite its fresh face lift. Near the set's end, "Right Hand on My Heart" featured immense beats from Dorio and bouncing urgency from Gispert that sent the assembled into a frenzy. "We're not used to playing places this big," the vocalist claimed, but with their dynamic sound and delightful exuberance, it's something they might just have to grow accustomed to.