SXSW 2012: White Mystery and Ceremony, 3/17/12

words and photo by Ian Jones | Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

CeremonyI thought that seeing White Mystery at Beerland would be an epic show because of the extreme display of punk rock that I had seen there the previous day. However, while I’m sure that two o’clock in the afternoon isn’t anybody’s favorite time to play a small bar, White Mystery seemed a little out of it. For a two-piece garage rock band from my home town with such hype I was expecting more. Maybe it was an off-day, but the crowd that was there was hardly into it.

Still, White Mystery gave it their all, quickly going through the sound check and not taking any breaks between songs. Their songs were all fairly similar, as Francis White and his sister Alex White played extremely stripped-down and simplified blues riffs, which sounded close to the recordings I’d heard on the internet. I’m not sure if I saw the wrong show, but it wasn’t what I was expecting, especially when I’d seen so many two-person acts at SXSW that tried to burn the place down. Perhaps playing multiple shows had worn them out by Saturday.

After that I headed to see Ceremony. Their live performance is much more distorted and chaotic than their records — on their recordings you can hear influences from The Clash, to the Buzzcocks, to Joy Division. However, live, it’s just chaos. The kids at this show were moshing harder than anything else I saw at SXSW, climbing onto the PA and diving into the pit, many landing on their heads, quickly shaking it off. Ceremony’s lead singer spent the last half of the show among the crowd, letting kids fight him for the mic to scream the lyrics. It was brutal.

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