Author: Todd Martens
03/21/2009 | Los Angeles Times | www.latimes.com | Live Show Review
Randoms: Devo was the other main headlining act at South by Southwest on Friday night, but with Kanye West coming to town today, I used the evening to club-hop rather than watch another established act. The results here were mixed. Saddle Creek's O+S was a delight, the latest project from Azure Ray's Orenda Fink. With dual vocalists, O+S did haunting easily, employing a slight echo to great effect. On record, O+S comes across as electronic-enhanced pop, but in the live setting at SXSW, the act's Western influence had a greater -- and welcome -- presence. A far less productive trip was to check out England's Esser, a glam-ish pop artist who isn't afraid to sample Lil Wayne, but my night ended on high notes with the rhythm and blues of King Khan & the Shrines and the country rock of Deer Tick. King Khan was a rollicking throwback to rock 'n' roll's early days, and Deer Tick had a bit of a vintage fetish as well. But if King Khan was so over the top that the set sometimes bordered on parody, Deer Tick struck a more romantic chord. At times, the act's country rock referenced Buddy Holly, but there was plenty of swing in the scrappy arrangements.