South - San Diego, CA 4/26/06

By jason

It's not very often you get to see the members of 3 bands on stage drop their pants at the end of their set and sing New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" while the audience realizes they're all wearing the same underwear: pink boyshorts with the South logo on them. Such was the case tonight at the Casbah in San Diego.

It was the last stop on South's tour with Something for Rockets and Margot & The Nuclear So and So's, and their third appearance in San Diego. Previously, they brought Metric to open the With the Tides tour, and their first trip was a co-headlining tour with Elbow.

I can honestly say that South have improved quite a bit as a live band since that first tour with Elbow. What I remember most about that show was how incredible Elbow was, and how disappointing South was. From Here On In, while a brilliant album, did not translate very well into a live experience.

Things improved with the following tour with Metric. The band had a few more shows under their belt, and eluded the sophomore slump with the equally brilliant With the Tides, whose 13 tracks lend themselves to a live setting.

Taking the stage at 11:30 and opening with "You are One" and the poppy "Up Close and Personal," both from the new album Adventures in the Underground Journey to the Stars, South then brought out "Same Old Story" from With the Tides to much applause.

Next up was the first single, "A Place in Displacement" - one of maybe two songs from the new album that sound like the South of old (the other being "Pieces of Dream," which sadly, wasn't played tonight).

Speaking of first singles from the album, "Loosen Your Hold" (first single from With the Tides) was next, followed by the second single from the new album, "Safety in Numbers." Joel had called for Josh from Something About Rockets to come up and sing on the song, but he was nowhere to be found. "Alright then, you're missing out Josh."

Joel then mentioned that it's time for an older song as he strummed the opening to "Keep Close," and as the bassline kicked in the crowd cheered. "Habit of a Lifetime" was next, followed by the amazing "I Know What You're Like" with Joel seated and playing the electric guitar flat in his lap with a pick. Definitely a highlight of the evening.

"Paint the Silence" was next, a song that I remember didn't translate very well live the first time around. This time around it was nearly perfect, and near the end Joel was joined by someone from Something for Rockets or Margot & The Nuclear So and So's (possibly Josh from earlier?)

One of my favorite tracks from With the Tides was next, the amazing "Colours in Waves," followed immediately by "Motiveless Crime." To keep the momentum going, they rounded out the set with "Shallow," the opening track from the new album.

In lieu of the usual leave-the-stage-then-come-back routine, Joel opted to play a beautiful acoustic version of "Straight Lines to Bad Lands."

And then the 2nd best part of the evening: the band came back onstage to perform an incredible extended version of "Sight of Me."

This leads us to the best part of the evening, and something totally unexpected: with Tom on a drum machine and everyone off stage except Joel and an acoustic, he begins "Bizarre Love Triangle" while members of all 3 touring bands came up on stage to sing and join in, as did the crowd. Everything was pretty normal - just a bunch of touring band members, roadies and friends on stage singing, hugging, laughing, until - on cue - the members of the other bands dropped their pants (women included), and revealed their pink South boyshorts. It was a sight to be seen for sure, and one that everyone enjoyed with laughter (and photos!)

Stupid me forgot my digital camera, but I did snap this phonecame picture of their underwear (note the girl at the front of the stage lieing on the monitor, pants down, filming the whole event.. beautiful)

Here's the setlist:

You Are One
Up Close and Personal
Same Old Story
Place in Displacement
Loosen Your Hold
Safety in Numbers
Keep Close
Habit of a Lifetime
I Know What You're Like
Paint the Silence
Colours in Waves
Motiveless Crime
Straight Lines to Bad Lands (acoustic)
Sight of Me
Bizarre Love Triangle