Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix's opener at their 4/29/10 Stubb's show in Austin, were kind enough to sit down with Roxwel prior to their set and chat for a bit...somewhat nervously :-) They're really pretty adorable, and each of them can't be much older than very early twenties. Hailing from Northern Ireland, the band - comprised of Alex Trimble (lead vocals, guitar, synths, beats), Kevin Baird (bass, vocals) and Sam Halliday (guitar, vocals) - formed in 2007 and were picked up by Glassnote Records (also Phoenix's label) here in the U.S. and Kitsune Music in Europe.
Their music has a Phoenix-y essence about it, blending the electro-pop and indie-rock genres, and I found them to be quite fun. It was definitely a good warm-up for Phoenix, and the exposure they're gaining from touring with the Grammy winners is undeniably the best move thus far in Two Door Cinema Club's short career.
Their debut album, Tourist History, was just released in the U.S. on April 27. During the interview, the band told us that their live show is not anything like the record, which makes me very interested in taking a listen to it. Be sure to check out their MySpace or pick up the album, and we'll have HD footage of their live performance on the site soon so that you can see for yourself how their live and studio efforts vary.
Also, just in case you're wondering (because I was after they said not to ask this in the interview yesterday), the name Two Door Cinema Club came about because one of the band members mispronounced the name of local theatre Tudor Cinema - just fyi.
Bliss. Pure freakin' bliss. That's right - I fell asleep completely content to the twinkling lights of downtown Austin and woke up dancing in the shower this morning. For real :-) Phoenix just has that effect on me. It's an extreme euphoria, and - as one of my friends said after the show last night - it's almost post-orgasmic.
These guys just have it...all. The talent. I mean, REAL talent. They are both a studio band and phenomenal live performers, which is no easy feat. And, on a personal level, they are the most genuine and humble musicians - something that I discovered when I was fortunate enough to spend a handful of minutes with them the last time they were in Austin back in December for a show at La Zona Rosa. Taking the time to snap photos with fans and sign memorabilia after a special acoustic performance of "Lisztomania," Phoenix's generosity is just unquestionable. They really do truly appreciate their fans, and they could've let all this success - the Grammy, Cadillac commercial, sold out tours, headlining festival slots, etc. - go to their heads. But they haven't, and I seriously hope they don't.
They're just down-to-earth, which I would think has something to do with the time it's taken them to become the explosive force they are now on the live music circuit, having released their first studio album, United, in 2000. They had the persistence and passion and are definitely no one-hit wonder - and they have an amazing catalog to substantiate that. Much of their fanbase is only familiar with their latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), which won Best Alternative Music Album at this year's Grammy Awards, but I would highly recommend checking out their other studio releases. In addition to United, there's Alphabetical (2004) and It's Never Been Like That (2006), along with Live! Thirty Days Ago, a live album that came out only a month after a 150-date tour in 2005.
The Stubb's show in Austin was their third-to-last stop on their current tour. And they know how to give Austin love, as Austin knows how to love them back. From what I hear, the pre-sale for this show sold out in less than a minute (how I scored my ticket...yesss!), and the regular on-sale sold out in less than five - and what a sweet ticket it was. Stubb's is probably my favorite venue in Austin. It just has such appeal. Not only is it a super cool and intimate amphitheatre (by amphitheatre standards anyway - it holds less than 3k), but it's also right smack-dab in downtown Austin. Honestly, it's hard for me to say which show I enjoyed more - Stubb's vs. La Zona Rosa - because I typically do prefer the smaller indoor venues for overall experience and acoustics. But I really do love Stubb's. It's just sexy. And the weather was perfect last night.
Thomas Mars (vocals) seems to share my sentiments. Soon after Phoenix took the stage last night, he said, "Stubb's...finally."
And they rocked it. There was so much energy in that crowd, and it was full of people that reallyreally wanted to be there, making for such a feel-good experience. Music truly does have the power to unite us all, and that's what happened last night. And Mars, per his usual performance antics, made his way into the crowd several times, which people - me included - really do love. It makes him one of us, and that's where the generosity factor comes back into play. Instead of making himself "untouchable," he does the polar opposite. At the La Zona Rosa show, he brushed right past me on his way back to the stage (I caught it on camera!), which really does make the experience that much more special.
The formulaic nature of their live show is a welcome familiarity, too. Being a fan of many "jambands," I'm accustomed to each show I see being a very different experience - and when I do a string of shows, there usually isn't one song played twice. Fifteen of seventeen songs last night were repeats from last time with "Love For Granted" and "Playground Love" (Air cover) being the only newbies. And, actually, the first three songs of the show were played in the exact same order as the last go 'round. I would normally find that to make for a stale show, but not with Phoenix. I would seriously drive to Houston tonight to see them again because I don't feel like I got enough :-)
I especially love how Phoenix always seems to encore about twelve times (ok, maybe it's not really that many encores - last night it was four songs between three separate appearances on-stage). And I think I've figured out why they do this. They have to let you down slowly because you really don't want the show - or the overall experience - to come to an end. But when the notes to "1901" begin to fill the air, you know things are drawing to a close.
They went out like bonafide rockstars. This was definitely the best show I've seen so far this year, and I see A LOT of live music. Come to think of it, I ranked their La Zona show as my numero uno of '09, and quite possibly the best show I've ever seen. So let's do the math. If I can't decide which show between La Zona and Stubb's I like best, that means that last night's show may, quite possibly, be the best live performance I've ever seen in my whole life. Awe-inspiring. Thank you, Phoenix.
P.S. I can't wait to see Roxwel's live footage of the first three songs. Coming soon...woohoo!
Canadian heavy metal band Voivod had quite the buzz at SXSW this year, and Roxwel got to sit down with Snake (vocals) and chat about the fest, touring, getting back in the studio and their late guitarist, Piggy.
Opening for Motorhead - a band that's been a major influence for them - earlier in the evening at Austin Music Hall, Voivod also spent their first SXSW headlining the Relapse Records showcase at Red 7 with many younger bands - Tombs, Graves of Valor, Howl, Mammoth Grinder, Kill the Client - that they've influenced.
Voivod is spending the summer touring in Europe and hope to get back to the U.S. as soon as possible for a full-blown tour across the country.
When asked about plans for a new album, Snake says, "Right now the focus is just get out there and play...Eventually we might sit down and talk about future plans."
After the death of Denis D'Amour (aka "Piggy"), Voivod never thought they would find another guitarist to replace him. In 2008, though, Dan Mongrain joined the band, and not only does he have the same kind of personality as Piggy, but they're all really starting to gel.
"Shows are good. People are, you know, demading more," Snake says. "It's a really great feeling for right now." Laughing, he continues, "I couldn't tell years ago that I would be sitting here in a big bus and touring."
This wasn't the first time Voivod has had to rebuild, but they seam to have a new mission and passion for what they're doing this go 'round - because it's in honor of Piggy, whose funeral brought them back together.
"We want to share with people what Piggy was all about. That's the best thing to do," says Snake. "We have to keep it alive."