SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 20, 2009
The Ranch, Thursday, March 19
Maybe Australians don't do subtle understatement. An epic country produces epic music. Or so it seems based on Dappled Cities' showcase. There was nary a moment of quiet introspection, no yearning love songs that inspired pin-drop quiet in the hypermasculine bar, a suitable venue for a band from a deeply masculine country. From the opening chords of the gorgeous, falsetto-drenched "Holy Chord," from 2007's stunning and mostly ignored Granddance, to the bombast of the final two songs from the Sydney quintet's forthcoming album, Dappled Cities trafficked in the grandiose. Alternating between dance-oriented tunes with a disco downbeat and moments sounding imported straight from the Sixteen Candles soundtrack with a 21st century reboot, the group sold themselves as secret rock stars, singer Tim Derricourt cavorting around the stage with the confidence of 10 roosters. The penultimate song (those teases neglected to share the names of their new babies) kicked off with a shouty, aggressive opening that didn't really work with the rest of the song, which was melodic and chockablock with pretty harmonies sung by Derricourt and fellow guitarist/vocalist Dave Rennick. This song showcased the root of the group's talent: They manage to be high energy without sacrificing loveliness and depth, evidenced in the tightly controlled, full-band instrumental freak-out that certainly softened the edges of audience members' hearing for days to come.