Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Live Shots
SXSW showcase reviews

Pilar Diaz

Fuze, Friday, March 20

This L.A.-based spark plug, formerly of rock band Los Abandoned, has gone solo in a most unique way: viola, ukulele, and trumpet supporting her soaring, glassy voice. That, and electric keyboards, percussion, synthesizer, bass, and guitar all making a dizzying array of music that delights in an almost ethereal way. She warmed up the crowd with a bass heavy "Friday the 13th," a rhythmic tune with a powerful bass that held the audience rapt, trying to figure out which way it was going to bend. The mournful "Tu y Yo" intrigued with its delicate quality married to an electronica overlay flavored with Díaz's soaring voice and that crazy ability to make the ukulele cool. "Piñata" was the audience favorite. How come no one has ever thought of using that prevalent image as a metaphor for a broken heart? The sultry "El Otro Yo" showed off what a gifted songwriter Díaz is, masterful even, perhaps because of her classical training. She closed her set with "Illegal en Estyle," a solid rock & roll tune with a tropical flavor. And did I mention how cool Díaz makes the ukulele look and sound? Although there was plenty of room to see Díaz, once word gets around, the next time she comes to South by Southwest, it should be standing room only.

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