March 26, 2006

SXSW Report #19: Erase Errata @ Emo's Annex

After Rahim's set, I walked to the annex of Emo’s to see neo-“riot grrl” giants Erase Errata play. The last time I saw EE live, it was at a gay-friendly club on the outskirts of Denton. This was shortly before the release of 2003's At Crystal Palace, when they were still a quartet. The joy that those four ladies got out of making noise was contagious enough to capture the entire room. They’ve undergone many changes since then. Singer Jenny assumed guitar duties after original guitarist Sara left, and the band drafted a MALE vocalist! That lineup’s performances received disastrous reviews, so they kicked him out and regrouped as a power trio, with Jenny singing and playing guitar. I was already curious to see if they could cut the mustard live without Sara, but when I read that they planned to release one final album before breaking up in August, seeing them became an absolute MUST. (I recently found out that they have since reconsidered their decision to split --- thank God!)

This evening, they were hampered by technical difficulties: Jenny broke two guitar strings, and had to get someone else to change them for her. While he did that, they performed guitar-less versions of “Owls” and “Retreat the Most Familiar,” which I greatly enjoyed. The rest of their set consisted of new songs that bore only a tangential resemblance to their older material. Jenny does a lot more talking than singing now, and the lyrics are blunter and more political than ever. Her guitar parts aren’t as complicated as Sara’s were, but they fit the songs well. I’m not going to say that Erase Errata were firing on all cylinders this evening, but I do think that I’m going to like their next album A LOT. I’m glad that they’re still with us.

No comments: