Heavy Rock In Full Supply At SXSW 2011: Jim Jones, White Hills, Black Angels Are Among Highlights

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Jim Jones Revue At Emo's Jr (photo by Kurt Wolff)

Jim Jones Revue At Emo's Jr (photo by Kurt Wolff)

The [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jim Jones Revue[/lastfm] is not messing around. The rock ‘n roll these guys play is a full-on assault, driven by guitars, piano, strong rhythms, and the mighty force of front man Jim Jones.

Jones headlined a SXSW showcase late last week that featured artists from the label Thrill Jockey and the booking agency Leafy Green, where the loud energy never let up as the bands (which also included Pontiak, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Liturgy[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]White Hills[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Cloudland Canyon[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Birds of Avalon[/lastfm]) ran through shades of rock from psychedelic to black metal to a barrage of electronica, and on to the crazy-eyed garage punk that defines the Jones experience.

[pullquote quote=”The music has this runaway train element — once you lock into the right rhythm … we’re just along for the ride.” credit=”Jim Jones in SF Weekly”]

Jones formed his review in 2007, after a run as a member of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Thee Hypnotics[/lastfm], and words like “hurricane” and “bone-shattering” often show up in reviews of his live shows. And, frankly, they’re spot on: when he takes the mic, Jones is a nonstop force of crazy energy. He pulls influence from ’50s heroes like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Little Richard[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jerry Lee Lewis[/lastfm], but spins his vocals, stage antics, and songs more in the vein of contemporary garage punk. Think [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/lastfm] or [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Reverand Horton Heat[/lastfm], only more visceral, raw, in-your-face, and insane.

White Hills at Emo's Jr (photo by Kurt Wolff)

White Hills at Emo's Jr (photo by Kurt Wolff)

Among the earlier acts on that Friday night bill, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]White Hills[/lastfm] was another standout–and not just for the eye-grabbing stage presence of bassist/vocalist Ego Sensation or the tripped-out, roll-on-the-floor antics of partner Dave W. They were a sight to behold, no doubt, but the music stayed clearly in focus, pulsing, throbbing, and teetering between dense space-rock grooves, a feedback-filled staredown with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Stooges[/lastfm], and plenty of nods to early punk.

Black Angels at SXSW (photo by Kurt Wolff)

Black Angels at La Zona Rosa (photo by Kurt Wolff)

And speaking of psychedelic grooves and heavy sounds, props also need to go out to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Black Angels[/lastfm]. The Austin-based band opened up two nights earlier for [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Queens of the Stone Age[/lastfm] at La Zona Rosa (one of the hottest tickets at this year’s SXSW), and proved that Queens wasn’t the only band capable of filling the cavernous club with blazing sound that night. The band’s 2010 album Phosphene Dream was among my favorites of last year.

Queens of the Stone Age review from SXSW 2011

TV on the Radio at SXSW 2011

See more photos and reviews from SXSW 2011

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