Pity Sex gives SXSW the late-night closer it deserves

No more Kanye rumors, no more rain, no more half-baked Miley cameos. The only way to send SXSW 2015 off in style was with a well-oiled, energetic noise monster like Pity Sex. The Ann Arbor, Mich., band closed out a Run For Cover Records showcase at Holy Mountain on Saturday night, and thus probably closed out the festival itself for many attending.

(Photo by Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

(Photo by Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

Opening with one of their catchiest, most melodic songs, “Wind-Up,” the band hit emotionally sensitive nerves through what they said were the biggest amps they had ever played with. The vocal interplay throughout the set between Brennan Greaves and Britty Drake, both of whom keep the vocals demure and low-key, grounded the loud electric sonic id shaking the stage.

If you want to get super over-analytical, it’s interesting that bassist Brandan Pierce and drummer Sean St. Charles were the most animated, reactive people on the stage. Even if the sometimes stoic singers were confessing “I wanna cry with you/I wanna die with you once or twice,” the musicians ostensibly providing the structure for the songs were full-body emoting like French mimes. Pierce is no stationary bassist, instead bouncing around the stage and throwing his body back and up like someone is pulling his string. And though drummers have license to go nuts, St. Charles heaved his whole body as he pounded, at one point resting his head on his kit like he was in the throes of ennui. Levels! Contrast! Rock!

A performance of “Dogwalk” put a bow on the night, diving headfirst one last time into a deafening whirlpool of feelings. Pity Sex’s huge, raw sound taps right into the heart of what SXSW can still be: brash and just off the beaten path.


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