You'd think having a song or two on TV would go miles to getting your name and sound into the great unwashed, but it hasn't. Why the hell not?
Though they mine the territory of Britpop counterparts like Coldplay, Doves, Snow Patrol, and Travis just as masterfully, each time I see South live, they're still playing Chicago's intimate Double Door. Front man and lead singer Joel Cadbury's voice is as hushed and dreamy as Chris Martin's and South's sound is grand and expansive -- a lush atmospheric blend of guitars, hooks, melodies, and big booming backbeats. Each of their records has songs that are as infectiously melodic and memorable as anything Martin and company have landed on the radio. So why haven't I heard a South tune on Chicago radio? Why is my brother, who normally eats up any English rock band, oblivious to the band? I've heard that South have had a couple of tunes featured on American television shows for the young and the hip. You'd think having a song or two cast as backdrop on TV would go miles to getting your name and sound into the great unwashed; but it hasn't. Frankly, I think the greatest chance South has to expand their fan base is by doing something they have been practicing all along: playing live. The sheer joy that the members of South bring to their music was apparent from the onset. The band opened with "You Are One" -- a stellar track from the latest record -- which featured thundering drumbeats, "ooh-wooh" vocal interludes, Jamie McDonald's chimey guitar riffs, and sweet mid-song tempo changes. Talk about a pop hit waiting to happen; "You Are One" rang with a grandness far bigger than the intimate confines of the Double Door. I don't wish to intimate that the song had an arena sound, but the sum was certainly greater than the parts. Similarly, "A Place in Displacement" -- with atmospheric dance beats and Brett Shaw's tribal drumming -- sounded like a lost Madchester dance track booming against the walls of the Hacienda.