Bob Geldof

SXSW showcase reviews

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Photo by Sandy Carson

Bob Geldof

ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Thursday, March 17

It's been three decades, give or take, since Bob Geldof was last in Austin. It only took an invite from SXSW to get him back here. "Good on them," grinned this year's keynote speaker before firing into "Systematic 6 Pack." So what if the onetime Boomtown Rat has taken a few notes from Tom Petty? The hair may be silver now, but the sharp asides and the passion still burn. "The Great Song of Indifference" spits with all the piss and vinegar of his early solo days, its playful nihilism replaced with an older, wiser man's diffidence. As for the New Wave crackle of "When the Night Comes Down," now it swoons and sways as if Bruce Springsteen were down the block still serenading "Rosalita." Finally, "I Don't Like Mondays" bristled with fire and social alienation, a reminder that the musical distance between the long-gone Armadillo World Headquarters and the brand new Moody Theater isn't so pronounced. His former band's punk anthem remained a call to arms on just drums and piano, and as Geldof's jacket hit the floor and his back arched, the staccato fury ripped – everyone was caught in a rat trap.

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