Best of SXSW 2014: The Casket Girls

The Casket Girls are, from left [we think] Phaedra and Elsa Greene.
The Casket Girls are, from left [we think] Phaedra and Elsa Greene.

Yes, I know I wrote about the Casket Girls in my Day One diary, which you should totally check out here, but I also know that not everybody has time to read a 3,000-word missive on the day in the life of a music journalist at the SXSW Music Conference.

So here’s the deal, the Casket Girls ruled! Their “Sleepwalking” song is stuck in my head more than any other song I’ve heard at this festival. And after two days and nights of music, I have heard A LOT of songs.

Anyway, here’s what I said about them, if you’re of the TL;DR mindset:

Before seeing them, I had known of the Casket Girls from a cardboard single I got in the mail last year. The song, “Walking on a Wire” sounds like the sort of music made by people who won’t be playing music for the rest of their adult lives. It’s a great song, but the rhythms are a little off in places and you just get the feeling that this Savannah band will disband as soon as they get real jobs.

Thankfully, I was way wrong.

Taking the stage with long blonde wigs, gaudy jewelry, sexy stockings and huge Jackie O sunglasses, the pair that lead the band do carefully choreographed moves as they sing doubled melodies that sometimes veer away from each other to become harmonies. The drummer looks like one of the Beach Boys from the 1970s, and he pummels the kit. The guy playing the ancient-looking organ wears a knit mask and the woman playing bass looks like Daria Morgendorffer.

If the bass weren’t so infected with fuzz, and if the keyboard sound wasn’t so eerie, this band could be straight-up pop, but the fact that a lot of the songs seem to mention death would probably prevent them from being classified as pop too. The lead Girls’ choreography owes a debt to Romy and Michele but as silly as it is, they don’t break character.

At approximately 10:35 I start getting antsy because another show I want to see is starting in five minutes across town. Although I am loving the Casket Girls, I should be getting to the Cedar Street Courtyard to see Lucius, another band fronted by two women with a sense of style is somewhere between serious and silly.

But I’m torn because now that I’m so hooked I want to hear “Walking on a Wire” live.

As I’m thinking this, one of the Casket Girls is reaching for my hand to help her down from the stage. I oblige. The one on stage right asks the same of me and kisses me to say thanks. The Girls are in the audience now, hugging and kissing their fans. I’m happy that I was the first.



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