The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

SXSW Music 2010

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, March 26, 2010, Music

P.K. 14/Carsick Cars

Speakeasy, Saturday, March 20

The back wall of the stage at Speakeasy is splashed with a mural of the building going up in flames, an appropriate backdrop for the vanguard of Beijing rock revolutionaries closing out SXSW. The highlights came early behind P.K. 14 and Carsick Cars, the former act rupturing with the punk intensity of singer Yang Haisong caustically shouting out screeds in Chinese as he kicked around the corner stage and slung the mic with a professional frontman's flair. Young trio Carsick Cars offered the impressive intro to the showcase, however, bathed in blue light and a heavy wave of melodic distortion. Digging into the Velvet Underground by way of Sonic Youth's Rather Ripped, songs like "Rock & Roll Hero" and "You Can Listen, You Can Talk" drifted in a lulling dark surge, punctuated also by Shouwang's Ian Curtis-staccatoed and droning vocals. Doubled over and burying his head into his guitar as if cowering from the sonic maelstrom of "Pan"'s scorched chords, Shouwang swerved with wanton abandon across lanes of feedback as Zhong Qiu's drums sought to provide navigation. While never losing control, Carsick Cars veered wild and revelatory in their crackling licks and blurry reverb exhaust of noise. (The China Rocks tour revolutionizes Emo's Tuesday, March 30.)

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