Clem Snide


March 17, 2005

In the middle of their SXSW showcase at Exodus Thursday night, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Eef Barzelay took a moment to show off the band's white suits. Barzelay said a friend made the suits for that performance. It was true. Earlier in the day at Emo's and later in the week at Twiropa, Barzelay wore his usual trucker hat and plaid. Each member had a different animal screened onto the back of their jackets. Barzelay was a deer. The crew was drummer Jason Glasser, guitar/banjo/tuba dude Pete Fitzpatrick, and bassist Brendan Fitzpatrick.

Barzelay introduced "Jews for Jesus Blues" by saying that it was fun to be in Texas and say "F--- Bush." Barzelay then dedicated the song to George W.

Six year-old Nashville band Clem Snide played sentimental, well-crafted delicate pop that exploded and rocked out at a moment's notice. They got across the authentic, bare-bones emotions of country with a slight twang and a Fitzpatrick's banjo. Barzelay's broken, affected vocals carried the band's vulnerability and wittiness at the same time. The band succeeded because they were able to be earnest and self-conscious of that earnesty without losing credibility.

An epic song was "End of Love," also the title from Clem Snide's new album. The beginning was full of bittersweet, backhanded, post-intellectual, and unimpressed lyrics: "You're so sophisticated/You're mind's been liberated/You're the first notice when a movement's come and gone." After a rocking beginning, the band broke things down. The song then flew again with a declaration: "Maybe you should just release the doves/Because noone will survive the end of love."

A goofy song that had Barzelay swaying robotically to the beat was "German Hip-Hop." "Something Beautiful" was a slithery, sexy, soul-influenced song with meaty background vocals.

Barzelay said funny things throughout the concert, and the band's vibe of sincere smart-ass made the show fun. The dancefloor was full. People walked over the line of chalk painted over the floor at the side of the stage to get a closer look at the band.

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