Dead Confederate at Stubb's, SXSW, Wednesday, March 12

With his lanky frame, bad posture and soulful, angst-tinged vocal howls Dead Confederate lead singer/guitarist Hardy Morris is bound to draw more than his fair share of Kurt Cobain comparisons. But his band’s opening set for R.E.M. at Stubbs on Wednesday night was nothing short of mesmerizing and proved that the Athens, Georgia, quartet is so much more than some hollow attempt at grunge revivalism. The epic song commenced as a slow-strummed minor key dirge that gradually built into a wall of thick, masculine shoegaze etherealness that called to mind the dissonant dreamscapes of Failure -- or your favorite Mogwai song with the addition of a well-placed heart-wrenching vocal melody. The band exuded a level of energy that was unmatched by the other opening acts largely due to drummer Jason Scarboro’s violent bashing and the solidarity in the heavy wall of effects-laden guitars. Attention to dynamics and well-timed crescendo’s of noise though is what held the crowd at attention and gave credence to the onslaught.

-- Shae Moseley

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