SXSW: Colourmusic and the Shape



Colourmusic, “Yes!” (MP3)

So five British guys decided to come to Austin and play a little prank on us Yanks.

“Let’s wear all white jumpsuits,” one of them said.

“And we’ll say we’re from Kansas!” said another one.

“No, Oklahoma!” chimed in another. “Just like the Flaming Lips.”

“Awesome. They will never know. We will play our brit rock. We will get them all sexed up. We will swirl our guitars, and make the pit pogo. It will be grand.”

“And we’ll call ourselves Colourmusic,” said the last one. Ah, the spelling almost gave them away.

“But we’re not shaving our beards, right?” said the first one.

“Hell, no,” they said in unison.

And there they were on Maggie Mae’s rooftop on the last night of SXSW, pretending to be a handful of bearded guys from Oklahoma.

Like Rob Harvilla a few nights before, I too busted my right eardrum getting you these pictures. And I hope you enjoy them.

You can’t tell much from the photos, but I implore you to go to their MySpace page and listen to the closer of the set “Yes!”

Now listen to the entire thing. Now pretend you are on a rooftop in Austin at nearly midnight, after four days and night of music, your blood thinned to turpentine status, your body begging for Sunday afternoon. Ahh, you now see. Colourmusic are not a bunch of cuddly Oklahomans with a penchant for matching white jumpsuits and beards. They are not Man Man. Yes, they can sound like Wayne Coyne’s stepchildren, but on this track, I’ve got their number. They are some sort of supergroup filled with members from Primal Scream or the Happy Mondays, or whoever the hell else. At least that’s what I was thinking as I watched them close out their set with that song, the crowd being more into it than any band I had seen to that point in Austin, including Lou Reed. This is bullshit. The chants. The harmony. The crunchy chords. The guitar wails. The handclaps. The cowbell. Yes, the cowbell.

After their set, I find myself standing at the edge of the stage now occupied by British Sea Power, talking to the tall one from Colourmusic. He hands me his card. It reads “Roy G. Biv.” I later learn this is a mnemonic device for remembering colors: R(ed)O(range)Y(ellow)G(reen)B(lue)I(ndigo)V(iolet).

We are shouting over the sound of his compatriots pounding in front of us. He is masking his British accent, trying for some sort of Midwestern twang. It sounds convincing considering the circumstances.

“Fucking bullshit artist,” I think. “Go back to Glasgow or Manchester or wherever the hell it is you’re from.”

Then I wonder if they have a cool T-shirt.

Colourmusic, “Yes!” (MP3)
Colourmusic, “Circles” (MP3)
Colourmusic, “You Can Call Me By Name” (MP3)