Quiet Company, Guards, Givers
South by Southwest Aftershots
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 23, 2012
Quiet Company, Guards, GiversChevrolet Sound Garage, March 17
Two songs into Guards' midshowcase set, the New York quintet seemed ready to walk off the stage as piercing feedback ripped through "Crystal Truth." Then, the band realized the unbearable sound came not from the monitors but the smoke detector it had set off. Credit the band for pushing through for 15 minutes until the alarm could be dismantled and the crowd for not leaving. Otherwise, James Follin's heavy brand of pop played well to a makeshift venue, "Do It Again" and "Resolution of One" situating between Girls and Cults. Austin's South by Southwest belle of the ball Quiet Company opened the night, concluding a week that saw it dominate the Austin Music Awards. The anthemic pull of last year's We Are All Where We Belong was realized as a crescendo caterwaul, Taylor Muse guiding the quintet (with an additional cellist) from plaintive, moody outsets to furious outbursts, simultaneously contemplative and cathartic. Louisiana's Givers closed with similar energy, Tif Lamson flailing unbridled at the second set of percussion out front as the fivepiece displayed an evolved polish since last year's SXSW breakout success. "I Saw You First" and "Up Up Up" remained highlights, but Givers wrangles an array of modern indie sounds into an infectious whole.