Forget Soundgarden’s attempts to sell more Superunknown reissues or the Green Day side project only serious fans really care about; the seemingly random South by Southwest set we were psyched to see on Friday was the return of Coachwhips, the gloriously messy group John Dwyer fronted before Thee Oh Sees. It’s unclear whether their many SXSW appearances will amount to a new record or if they’re simply one-offs. Either way, seeing the trio headline Dwyer’s Castle Face showcase took us back to the early ’00s, a time where Coachwhips and like-minded RISD alums like Lightning Bolt obliterated the fourth wall between performers and fans by playing spastic shows in the middle of the floor. Dwyer, drummer Matt Harman and keyboardist/tambourine player Val(tronic) could be seen dragging their gear to the back of Hotel Vegas’s patio as well, where they were quickly surrounded by several layers of ecstatic fans. As always, it was impossible to tell what Dwyer was shouting through his fuzz-engulfed microphone, but the band’s frantic hooks made themselves known loud and clear.
Check out our stage-side shots in the slideshow above, as well as photos of the pure joy that is Diarrhea Planet, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan in art-rock opera mode, Charli XCX leading a full band and more.