Oh Look Out
Credits: Stephen Carradini
On Oh Look Out's debut album Alright Alright Alright Alright Alright, the band's geek-inspired power-pop is a blast of alternately sincere and tongue-in-cheek fun. Their live performance of the material from the album is perhaps even more entertaining. The band, which sported four different keyboards in addition to their guitar/bass/drums standards, created a cheery, upbeat environment with their performance and stage banter.
The audience in the tiny bar responded with glee; a woman "in her 60s" danced jubilantly, while other younger audience members gobbled up the free CDs that the band offered from the stage. With clear vocals, interesting melodies, solid songwriting and palpable enthusiasm, there wasn't much to dislike. Closer "Bass, Not an Eight-Track" is a perfect nostalgia anthem; it's got pounding choruses, yell-along verses, and that x factor that makes a song a hit. If you're a fan of Weezer, Dr. Pants, Anamanaguchi or video games, you'll be really into Oh Look Out. I look forward to hearing more from them and seeing their audience grow (as it should and will).
I rushed across downtown to check out Holy Fiction's set, and was treated to about half of Whiskey Shivers' set. The audience at the bluegrass five-piece's set was even more enthusiastic than at Oh Look Out, as multiple couples were two-stepping, swing-dancing and slow-dancing to the band's vibrant sound. I'm a big fan of bluegrass that draws cues from modern melodies, and Whiskey Shivers delivered a home run on that template.
Whiskey Shivers\' barefoot bluegrass ruled.
In addition to being incredible instrumentalists and vocalists, the band had a remarkable sense of humor. One of the band's tunes was diverted in the bridge into a three-way conversation that functioned as a small, hilarious play with everyone talking over everyone else. It felt impromptu and lively, even if it wasn't; the band was clearly having a blast. Their cover of Tom Waits "Long Way Home" sounded magnificent, as well; It was an incredibly apt and well-performed choice. Even though I only caught half their set and hadn't heard of them before, Whiskey Shivers delivered one of my favorite sets of SXSW; it's hard not to love a band that has earned the adoration of everyone else in the room, especially while witnessing what made them adore. And they were all barefoot. What's not to love?