Phoenix. Photo: Christopher Polk, Getty Images AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Depeche Mode,…
- Posted on Apr 16th 2011 5:50PM by Theo Bark
From the opening notes of their catchy, dreamy 'Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?' it was clear that the band was poised to deliver on the promise of their stellar debut LP. While the album was written and played entirely by singer-guitarist Kevin Parker, the band had a clear chemistry, anchored by bassist Nick Allbrook's soulful playing and Jay Watson's barefoot, relentless drumwork.
The band were excited to play the festival, which they said had a different feel than others that they've played. "It's one of the ones that doesn't look like every other festival in the world," Watson said. "There's not bikini birds running around everywhere, like at every other festival."
"They're a lot younger than I expected," noted a woman in the crowd, as they launched into 'Solitude is Bliss.' "I thought they'd be like, tan surfer guys."
Despite their age, the youthful band, which also includes Dominic Simper, now on guitar and synth (he and Allbrook traded roles), played a seasoned, almost perfect set. Though their performance time was shorter than usual, due to festival time constraints, the band were still able to extend some of the instrumental sections of their songs, their notes melding perfectly into the backdrop of the desert palm trees and slowly setting sun.
"We have to change our set for festivals," Watson explained before they took the stage. "Because we have to make it shorter, we're more inclined to do more hilarious s--t. It's a little bit more bombastic in the improvised sections."
Though their time slot conflicted with several other artists of their ilk, including the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, they still drew a solid, enthusiastic crowd.
"You have infinitely more fun at a festival because all the attention isn't on you, you're just one drop in the ocean, so you can just get up and have fun," Watson continued.
"We're playing the same time as Ariel Pink, which sucks. We're really excited to see them," said their slightly dejected, boyish bassist Allbrook, when asked who else they were planning to check out.
"Warpaint would be cool," mused Jay. "I was actually really excited to see Mark Ronson, and then I found out yesterday that he's not actually playing."
"I was really excited to see Deerhunter, but then I found out they weren't playing either," offered Allbrook.
"Yeah, we just invented this whole festival inside our heads," Watson said.
"We just assumed that everyone is playing," Allbrook agreed.
By the time the band ripped into a "special live version" of 'Half Full Glass of Wine,' from their self-titled EP, very few people in the crowd cared who else was performing.