I Saw Butterfly Explosion at SXSW and They Are Not a Band of Hippies


Butterfly Explosion
March 17
Habana, Austin, Texas

When you go see a band because they’re labeled “shoegaze,” you get a smile on your face when you see them set up 19 different foot pedals on the stage. You don’t need to double-check your SXSW schedule. You know you’re in the right place.

Butterfly Explosion‘s sound is not nearly as sonically sophisticated as My Bloody Valentine, but falls into a comfortably poppy atmospheric area that might actually get them played on an episode of Gossip Girl. A call back to Nowhere-era Ride. Few vocals. Lots of crunchy guitars, cymbals, and a swirling keyboard somewhere in the back. Long drawn-out three chord song beginnings. Long, drawn out three-chord song endings.

The Dublin-based fivesome landed in the States last week, playing tiny gigs in Philly and New York before hitting Texas. “We have massive potential,” says lead singer and guitarist Gazz Carr, 28, over a lager after the show. (It sounded way less douchey when he said it.) “But we’re only starting out. It’s only a start, but the foundation is being laid.” Carr, who works a day job in government back in Dublin, funded the band’s two-weeks-old debut full-length, Lost Trails. With the Silversun Pickups whetting the alternative crowd’s appetite, these give might actually find a niche in America—and more than just an excuse to listen to something new after wearing out your ears again on Nowhere or Souvlaki.

Austin vs. Glasto: SXSW is “like going to Glastonbury, except it’s clean, comfortable” says Gazz, who will probably the only person who will describe Austin this week as “clean and comfortable.”

The crowd 8:1 male, yet not one, but two sets of women cuddling in the crowd.

How the audience found them: Woman in front said Facebook told her to come, based on her favorite bands, most notably Smashing Pumpkins.

Obligatory Shoegazing Shoe report: Bassist wore Chuck Taylors, both guitarists had black Adidas. Keyboardist wore short leather boots. Drummer played in socks.

Worst name at SXSW: When you text all your friends about which band you are about to see, you will undoubtedly leave out the name of this band, as it is quite possibly the worst name in all of SXSW, beating out Rainbow Disruption and Unicorns Are Pretty. As Voice web editor Camille Dodero texted me last night, “Where’s your Butterfly Exploding Ass?” Stay classy, Dodero.

Set List:

Tracing Stars
Turn in You

Butterfly Explosion will be playing Rileys Music From Ireland showcase at 1pm on Friday and the Red 7 Goodbye South-By party at 4:45pm on Sunday.