If you ever come to SXSW and don't have any idea what to do or where to go, just cruise 6th Street from Red River to Congress. You will find something you like. As I left Adebisi Shank's show, I started checking out the line-ups from the prodigious amount of bars on the strip and noticed, to my absolute astonishment, that The Felix Culpa was playing in forty-five minutes in the bar I was standing outside.
I've been listening to Chicago-based The Felix Culpa since 2004, but I had yet to see a show of theirs. But for the second time in a day, I was blown away by a post-hardcore band that I had no expectation whatsoever of seeing. The Felix Culpa plays long, intricate tunes that have more parts in them than a whole car: Their entire set consisted of three very lengthy songs. These guys have songwriting chops like I've never heard, and they put them on full display in their show.
"Escape the Mountain, Lest Thou Be Consumed" played out like a novel in song form, with hard-charging high points, solitary valleys, and everything in between. The band pounded through the tunes with passion, never letting a second go by without a yelled vocal, a swung guitar or some other expression of their fervor. Their sung melodies, screams and instrumental work each were hitting on all cylinders, resulting in an incredible, highlight set. I plan on seeing them again, because the set was just that good.
If you like artistic, complex, deep rock music that skews toward hard but doesn't camp out there, The Felix Culpa is your band. You need to know them. That's really all there is to it.