Red Red Meat

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

Red Red Meat

Radio Room Patio, Thursday, March 19

Getting under way, Red Red Meat's principle songwriter and guitarist Tim Rutili reminded the crowd that the tent at the Radio Room where they played was considered outdoors, so smoking would be kosher. Yet while the recently reformed Chicago quartet provided a decent history lesson drawing heavily on its mid-1990s Sub Pop albums, especially There's a Star Above the Manger Tonight, these alt-scene veterans never really caught fire themselves. Rather, RRM stayed stuck within the cocoon of fuzz that made them irresistible indie darlings a short decade ago. Chugging versions of "Chinese Balls" and "All Tied" sounded solid with the twinned percussion efforts of Ben Massarella and Brian Deck (currently a producer for Austin-based Sam Beam's Iron & Wine), but Rutili's guitar and vocals were left muffled in the mix. Perhaps due to the Rutili's changing of guitars, the energy and volume increased and sound improved for the late-set "Oxtail" and "Rosewood, Wax, Voltz and Glitter" off the newly reissued 1995 post-grunge classic Bunny Gets Paid. In response to crowd questions, Rutili offered little reassurance that the resurrection of RRM was anything more than a one-off, and after the set, Deck clarified that most of the band was more excited about the new Califone project – anchored by Massarella and Rutili – than building momentum for a reunion tour.

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