Small Black @ Lustre Pearl
The opening act was the main reason I wanted to go back to Lustre Pearl at all. Firstly, they were the only band of the set I hadn’t seen previously, and secondly, their dark, layered, digitally-inclined 2012 debut album was an understated and highly-likable effort, and I wanted to see how well it translated to the stage. As I had expected, the translation was finely executed. Small Black also revealed a less-dense sound away from the so-called “chillwave” umbrella they’re in, perhaps a sign that they are venturing into new territories for their next album.
DIIV (again) @ Lustre Pearl
I was delighted to see DIIV on my first night of SXSW, so seeing them again was a welcome treat. Interestingly, lead singer Zachary Cole Smith scathed on Twitter a day earlier about how discontent he and the rest of the band was over SXSW’s set-up, so seeing them the night after that denouncement was a bit disconcerting at first. They didn’t appear any angrier, though, and basically played the same set from the first night, with “Dust” still being my favorite song. I know I’ll be looking out for them in the near future, no matter what controversy they might stir.
The Joy Formidable (again) @ Lustre Pearl
I had just seen The Joy Formidable performing an explosive set at The Belmont the night before, and I believed they deserved a larger venue even then, but now they were playing the Lustre Pearl, a much smaller and tighter venue! I was able to get a much closer look at them this time around, right next to the speaker and in on the action of head-banging and fist-pumping. They nearly blew me away with their vivacity, and for this set, the drummer even had a gigantic gong, an element missing from the show the night prior. I was lucky to leave the Lustre Pearl alive that night, and as much of a thrill as it was, I was fine taking a sideline position for the next and final act of the evening.
Fitz and The Tantrums (again?) @ Lustre Pearl
The reason I say “again?” is because I had seen Fitz and The Tantrums perform live once before back in Los Angeles at The Roxy. They were an astounding act back then, and they were an astounding act at Lustre Pearl. The band had a slew of new material to share since they plan on releasing their sophomore album, More Than Just A Dream, in May, and I was excited to hear what these new tracks sounded like.
During the set, Fitz and The Tantrums showcased the fantastic Motown formula they perfected on Pickin’ Up The Pieces, giving everyone in the crowd a reason to twist and shout, but they kicked things off with their new single “Out Of My League” followed by tracks that blended more of a dancey, ’80s New Wave vibe with their signature sound. Fitz and The Tantrums was now a much larger band than they were just a year ago, but they hadn’t lost any of their luster; in fact, they just expanded on it, making for a hugely entertaining and satisfying end to the night.