Sadie Dupuis has a million of ‘em. A few stage-bound bon mots from Tuesday night’s House of Vans SXSW showcase at the Mohawk:Introducing a tune: “This song is about execution vans. There’s a Google search term.”On performing new material: “Any members of ‘N Sync wanna try ‘em too? Come on up here.” (Joey Fatone in particular was requested.)To the audience as droplets fell from the sky: “You guys bring your rain slickers?” Cue deadpan sip from straw.On loving the evening’s lineup: “If you didn’t, there’s an alley we’ll beat you up in.”
Here is your new cool-queen, SXSW. Putting aside stage presence, Dupuis led the members of Speedy Ortiz to fuzzed out greatness and sounded record-perfect the entire set. And with records like “Major Arcana” giving a master class in how to reference ’90s rock without being a cover band, the Massachusetts outfit needs to leave Austin at the end of the week with a slew of new diehard fans.
Speedy Ortiz’s performance of “Raising the Skate,” soon to be found on upcoming album “Foil Deer,” wrapped up all the best elements of the band’s M.O. into a sweet cacophony. There are the meticulous guitar licks, layered over distorted noise from its guitar neighbor, crawling into your nervous system like a spindly, deliberate spider. There’s Dupuis, peeking out from behind strands of hair (music shorthand for disaffected vulnerability) to dispense everything from icy exasperation to softly whispered barbs to salty braggadocio to the most mournful yodel you ever did hear. There are the slicing lyrics: “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” is the chest-piece tattoo you’ve been mulling over.
If you need any more convincing, Dupuis said she used to live here. If Austin loves anything, it’s claiming musicians as their own, so choose Speedy Ortiz as your SXSW 2015 breakout act. The ballot is in your heart. Bonus: The nonchalant zingers come at no extra cost.
Speedy Ortiz also plays SXSW showcases Wednesday at Cedar Street Courtyard, Thursday at Swan Dive and Friday at Brazos Hall.