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SXSW 2014: Perfect Pussy, Live In Concert

Before her band had played a single note, frontwoman Meredith Graves surveyed a thousands-strong crowd packing Stubb's BBQ at NPR Music's 2014 SXSW showcase.

"We're Perfect Pussy," she said. "We're terrified."

Listening to Say Yes to Love, the band's eight-song, 23-minute speedball of self-assured confrontation, fear is the last thing that springs to mind. From the band's polarizing name — intended, Graves has said, to force even Perfect Pussy's harshest critics to say something positive — to its largely inscrutable words, nothing about the group would suggest a note of hesitation or doubt.

The Syracuse noise-punk band is only human, after all, but the rest of its visceral, chest-caving and often stunning 20-minute set wouldn't suggest as much. This is rock 'n' roll as an act of unfiltered, unfrightened aggression — by design, it forgoes nuance at every turn — but it never careens entirely out of control. By the end of Perfect Pussy's set, pre-show nerves were the last thing on anyone's mind.

Set List

  • "Big Stars"
  • "Bells"
  • "Driver"
  • "Work"
  • "Interference Fits"
  • "Dig"
  • "I"
  • "IV"
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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