Listen to Kurt Vile and Man Man’s SXSW performances (courtesy of NPR Music)
Kurt Vile‘s Saturday didn’t start well: The Philadelphia singer-songwriter had a bag stolen overnight, which robbed him — and his terrific backing band, The Violators — of a good chunk of their signature sound. Vile uses an assortment of pedals to trick out recordings that somehow seem both primitive and polished, darkly acerbic and informed by the sounds of classic rock. But, without them, his music had to rely on its roots.
There’s something downright unhinged about Man Man‘s act: Led by hyperactive live wire Honus Honus, the Philadelphia band careens and stomps through songs that conjure the addled celebration of an imaginary Skid Row circus. As such, the group gets compared to the likes of Tom Waits and Frank Zappa, who similarly put a ton of artistry and care into the bizarre, run-down and decadent.
You can read NPR’s full recaps of the shows—as well as all of their other SXSW-related coverage—on their website.