Rarely is a headlining band outdone by their opener. While The Pains of Being Pure at Heart offered a legitimate musical experience, Twin Shadow outshined them, romancing listeners into a trance on April 9. With a darkness and depth akin to Depeche Mode, Twin Shadow front man George Lewis, Jr. tenderly crooned his warm, deep vocals to a crowd that started dancing with the first song and continued throughout the set. He moved with the music as well, losing his hat by the fourth song. Though the mash up of rock n’ roll guitar solos sometimes sounded a bit out of place, with light synth sounds, the keys, sometimes wistful and drawn out sometimes bubbly, balanced the heavy beat. During “Slow” the audience sang along with the chorus, “I don’t wanna/Believe/ Or be/In love.” Twin Shadow ended the show with the title song from his album “Forget” released last August. Twin Shadow had canceled his show the previous night in Houston due to a medical emergency but was definitely on for the Austin gig. With his up-and-coming twist on new wave, Twin Shadow has his thumb on the pulse of the ’80s resurgence.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart came highly recommended to me but fell short of my expectations. Still, they did keep heads bobbing up and down throughout their set. The group started off with the title track off their new album “Belong” out March 29, and mixed in songs from their debut self-titled album throughout their time on stage. The new album had a smooth, full sound but the performance did not reflect that and continued in the aggressive, almost punk, style of the previous album. Lyrics like, “We will never die,” seemed immature and lacking in depth. However, keyboardist Peggy Wang gave herself to the music completely, whirling her long black hair and ushering soul into the aggressive pop with her dreamy keys . As vocalist and guitarist Kip Berman nonchalantly sang out the lyrics, it seemed like he was going through the motions, and the influx of guitar drowned out many of the nuances. Overall, the performance lacked the sensitivity existent in their recent recording and focused more on the pep of the pop.