At the Drive-In surprise fans with explosive SXSW showcase

Cedric Bixler of At The Drive-In performs at The Mohawk during South by Southwest on Wednesday March 15, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Recently re-reunited hardcore emo legends At the Drive-In played to an at-capacity crowd at the Mohawk Wednesday night at SXSW Music. The revered El Paso rockers were a “surprise” addition to the line-up, which also featured Temples, Poliça and The Black Angels.

At the Drive-In’s cult following borders on true cult-level obsession and fanaticism, making the show half concert, half religious experience for diehards — their eyes closed scream-reciting lyrics in pure rapture. Fans packed in the pit and the tiered levels above the Mohawk stage with their hands seemingly drawn to frenetic frontman Cedric Bixler like metal to a magnet, waving back and forth to reach him and swallowing up stage divers in a moshing wave.

The absence of former guitarist and supporting vocalist Jim Ward and his commanding voice from this iteration of the band was noticeable but not enough to sour the live experience for this SXSW crowd.

The nostalgia-triggering setlist featured much of their influential Relationship of Command and served as a soundtrack for Bixler’s theatrics — staggering around stage, pouncing off the drumkit or swinging, kicking and slinging his chrome-plated microphone like a Nunchuk or hacky sack.

At the Drive-In plays in Austin again at Stubb’s B-B-Q on June 7.

Setlist:

  • “Arcarsenal”
  • “Pattern Against User”
  • “Sleepwalk Capsules”
  • “Governed By Contagions”
  • “Invalid Litter Dept.”
  • “Enfilade”
  • “Cosmonaut”
  • “Quarantined”
  • “One Armed Scissor”

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