bar italia Was Electrifying at Empire Garage

bar italia Was Electrifying at Empire Garage: + London-based bar italia was enthralling in Wednesday night's SXSW showcase

March 14, 2024 in Concert Reviews

by DJ Rachie

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Photos by DJ Rachie (@rgreendesign)

Late Thursday night, London-based bar italia took the stage as the fourth band on a six band bill as a part of Monster Children’s SXSW showcase. There wasn’t much chit chat; after soundcheck, the four took to the stage and launched into their set.

There was immediately a burst of energy as lead vocalist Nina Cristante danced around the stage, moved by the energy in the room. The crowd quickly joined in, opening up what can only be described as a dance pit, sticking their arms in the air and jumping along to the danceable beats of bar italia’s discography.

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Photos by DJ Rachie (@rgreendesign)

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Photos by DJ Rachie (@rgreendesign)

There was a cyclical element to the band’s performance. Each song would build and build, backed by killer drums and basslines keeping steady time. Then, suddenly, it would all go still. The way that bar italia structured both their music and their setlist had a tangible pull — the moments after the music abruptly cut out were deafeningly silent and left listeners hoping for more.

For the final song in their set, “world’s greatest emoter”, they pulled out all the stops. Both guitarists joined in with Cristante, with Sam Fenton methodically droning and Jezmi Fehmi providing the loud emotional overtone of the lyrics as Cristante backed them up with ethereal vocalizations. The track, which is about yearning and discontent, is a strikingly mundane tune. With sonic similarities to Sonic Youth and Pulp, the heavy instrumentation and minimalist melodies serve to enhance the lyrics while still providing a fun show.

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Photos by DJ Rachie (@rgreendesign)

The quintet never let the energy in the room drop for a minute, even through getting electrocuted on their mics and having to end earlier than anticipated. With their set on Wednesday night, bar italia proved they have the chops to not only create great albums, but also can reliably deliver an amazing show that resonates with audiences across the pond.

Follow bar italia here

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