Harlem

SXSW showcase reviews

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Photo by Sandy Carson

Harlem

Red 7 Patio, Thursday, March 18

Harlem shows teeter on the brink of dissolving into disaster, which might be considered part of the band's ramshackle schtick if shows didn't occasionally run completely off the rails. With Michael Coomers' eyes drawn back and clutching at his hair in clumps like a blown-out tweeker, the local trio flew through a blitzkrieg 25 minutes of unhinged bop and characteristically jabbed at everyone from its new label ("We aren't going to make any money from Matador on the new album, so you should just keep buying the old one over and over") to the staid SXSW crowd ("These people don't dance. They blog about dancing"). New tunes "Someday Soon" and "Gay Human Bones," from upcoming sophomore effort Hippies, rolled with classic R&B garage grooves, sounding as if the boys had aimed for sincerity but took an awkwardly hilarious wrong turn. "South of France," from 2008 local debut Free Drugs, bucked exuberantly before Coomers ceded the spotlight to Curtis O'Mara, who cut a more jagged proto-punk edge and energy on "Friendly Ghost" and "Number One." "Let's go; Danger Mouse's new project isn't going to form itself," spurred Coomers from behind the kit, launching Harlem into closing freak-out "Scare You," and the band's breaking down equipment almost before it was done.

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