AUSTIN, Texas — It's always interesting to see how our home folks do at South by Southwest, and whether or not their charms translate away from the Triangle. And Raleigh's The Love Language were pretty great down here on Friday night. The group makes sadness sound almost happy, with peppy, exuberant arrangements rendered at metallic volumes; if you're not otherwise occupied next Saturday, March 28, you really should catch their homecoming show at Chapel Hill's Local 506 (see next Friday's paper for more on that).
Other Friday highlights included O+S, a lovely and seductively ambient group that played moody electronic pop with an overpowering rhythmic pulse; and a revved-up Austin power trio called White Denim, who were one-dimensional in an ADD kind of way but fun nevertheless. On the down side, I still cannot figure out what anybody sees in Glasvegas, who have been touted as some kind of biggest-band-in-the-world savior but left almost no impression on me. The hipsters seemed to dig 'em, though.
The night concluded with an old favorite, Right or Happy, formerly known as the Reivers, and a band I've loved with obsessive devotion since the first time I saw them during college days a quarter-century or so ago (for more on the back-story, check this). The main difference between the two incarnations is that the current model includes a keyboardist. Really, though, the group is still all about Kim Longacre and John Croslin's voices and the way they blend. It's still about the prettiest thing I've ever heard, although I'll cop to being such a rabid fan that I'm probably not to be trusted. But even singing new songs I'd never heard before, they melted my cold, cold heart. And when they dusted off the old Reivers chestnut "Ragamuffin Man," it was mist-up time.
I sure do love this town this time of year.