ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., Oct. 15, 2010
TV TorsoZilker Park, Oct. 10
Featuring two members of Sound Team – guitarist/vocalist Matt Oliver and drummer Jordan Johns, joined by bassist Austin Jones – studio trio TV Torso took ACL's historically local stage (Zilker's Rock Island) with a certain local indie cred. Add former Voxtrot keyboardist Jared Van Fleet and ex-Corto Maltese guitarist Ben Maddox for the festival appearance, and the lineup that opened up the Austin Ventures stage on Sunday had all the trappings of a River City alt-rock supergroup. The band's post-punk urgency was there in full, but this fivepiece evolved the possibilities. The name of TV Torso's game is unpredictability, like the full-bore drum meltdown midway through Byrdsian B-side "I Can See Your Face," and that unpredictability's where Maddox proved a revelation. Playing dissolute rocker to Oliver's wired-up intensity, his left elbow scuffed up and bleeding, his harmonies complemented the frontman's staccato vocal attack. It was their guitars that meshed most unexpectedly, however. While Oliver conducted his frenetic experiments with jangle-pop, Maddox treated his instrument like a puzzle to be solved instead of a tool to be used. Like Monster-era Peter Buck jamming with Elvis Costello circa Get Happy!!, the interplay was more than just a bigger festival sound.