Spinner Instagram SXSW 2013 was exciting. Usher played with Afghan Whigs, A…
- Posted on Dec 7th 2010 12:30PM by Kenneth Partridge
"This will be over soon and you can go to bed," the lanky, glammed-out Canadian synth-pop up-and-comer said. He had a different message for the nine unemployed fans statistics suggest were among those grooving to his laptop beats, power chords and one-handed keyboard riffs.
"Show me where to go," O'Regan said, confessing his lack of familiarity with the local nightlife. "Let's have a party!"
Regardless of whether he went out after the show -- which, true to his word, ended around 9PM -- and hit the bars with job-seeking members of his audience, O'Regan had himself an evening's worth of fun. Dressed in a black motorcycle jacket, gold leggings, red high-top basketball sneakers and a single fingerless leather glove, the former high school athlete danced hard enough to compensate for fans' surprising lack of motion.
Playing songs from his recently released debut, 'Special Affections,' he shook his hips and pumped his fist as if auditioning for the lead in a dinner-theater production of 'The Billy Idol Story.'
When not singing over purely prerecorded music, O'Regan switched between keyboard and guitar, the instrument he plays in the D'Urbervilles, the post-punk band he's fronted since 2005. Rocking the Telecaster on 'Wait & See,' he referenced no fewer than three music icons, singing like a lounge-lizard Ian Curtis and looking like 'Faith'-era George Michael after a Boy George makeover.
Had it not been for the lousy hairspray O'Regan had purchased earlier in the day, the show might have spanned more than nine songs. As the evening progressed, strands of peroxide blonde flopped down over his face, leaking chemicals into his heavily made-up eyes. "But I'm pushing through!" he said.
Sure enough, that New Wave coif fell flat, but O'Regan's spirits never did. After 'All Yr Songs,' the underground pop favorite that ended his main set, he ditched the electronics and played 'Give It Up' on just his guitar, giving the tune a gritty rock feel antithetical to the Technicolor androgyny he'd radiated all evening.
Finale 'Show Me Your Stuff' marked a return to flamboyancy, as O'Regan served up the night's most complex synth parts -- "The bass!" he said toward the end, throwing some left-hand low notes into the mix -- and heaviest club beat. Then there was the dancing: more air punches, hands over the heart and dramatic arm waving -- not bad for a dude that probably played center on his hoops team.
The whole presentation -- music, singing and dancing -- came together with a kind of beginner's charm, and even if O'Regan isn't yet a bona fide triple-threat, he's certainly earned the title of entertainer. The best part about that job? He doesn't have to get up at 6AM.