SXSW 2012, Exitmusic and The Big Pink

The Big Pink

The Dickies / Filter showcase at Lustre Pearl on Friday, March 16 put Exitmusic and The Big Pink in the mix of a fabulous bill. The set started with Exitmusic.  Unfortunately, their electronic source turned into a ‘sad mac’ four or five songs in, and they had to pull the plug on the rest of the show. Before that happened, luckily, the band played “The Sea,” their single (the opener). The standing drummer and company wore all black – dark and classy. They looked like they were part of the Bad Seeds.

The highly hyped UK band, The Big Pink, were up next.  This was a much anticipated set for me, being an avid 4AD fan, both old and new school.  I discovered The Big Pink on 4AD Sessions.  The sound was big, sensational and saturated in pop.  The image was full of pink lights, drifting smoke, shiny balloons, silver glitter and more pink.  The set was the prom scene in a 4AD art-pop film.

This set was more of a standard configuration, as expected from a back-lined stage, but the sound was HUGE! The opening track was “Stay Gold,” the first single from their current release, Future This. The song started with synth ambiance followed by the key melody and a giant drumbeat. The rest of the set included the track “Hit The Ground” (off Superman), the ballad “Give It Up,” as well as “Rubbernecking” and “Dominos.” The set ended in a dynamic climb to a noise-piercing peak.

The Big Pink were big indeed, occasionally reminding me of Curve live, sonically. This is directly tied to the facts: both are Alan Moulder alumni and great at reproducing that mix live. The sound was clean, fat and super loud.  People were holding their ears during certain parts of the show. The synth rig included two Mac laptops, side by side, with big, pink stickers on them – the word ‘BIG,’ in pink, over the glowing Apple logo.

The Big Pink’s drummer, Victoria Smith, was awesome, my highlight even. She did some beats bigger than the recorded versions of songs. A hard hitter, her sticks were always way up in the air. She was not shy at all, and let loose live. Final thoughts: The Big Pink were very successful at presenting themselves as a sonic pop entity. Very professionally, they rolled in and rocked it.

by Alec Yeager