SXSW 2011 Day 1: (Still) Hungry Like the Wolf

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SXSW 2011 Day 1: (Still) Hungry like the wolf
Duran Duran at SXSW.
By Sean O'Neal March 17, 2011

• Duran Duran’s upcoming All You Need Is Now couldn’t be more ironically titled unless it was called Songs That Are As Good As Or Better Than Hungry Like The Wolf, and let’s be real: If you’re attending a Duran Duran headlining SXSW set, chances are you’re not saying, “I’m just curious about their new material.” But you know what? The group’s new material actually holds up pretty well against their earliest hits. Songs like “Being Followed” are the same sort of sleek, gloriously plastic synth-pop Duran Duran reliably churned out for the bulk of the ’80s, and they slotted comfortably between old familiars like opener “A View To A Kill” and “Notorious.” As Simon Le Bon said just before the band left the stage for the night, “That’s what we do,” and it’s nice to see Duran Duran still knows what “that” is, rather than attempting to go all serious on us in its advancing years.

The night proceeded in that sort of a one-for-you, one-for-us pattern of well-worn versus breaking-in (as Le Bon reminded everyone, the set was a dress rehearsal for a world tour), and there was a noted emphasis on sticking to fan-favorite deeper cuts like “The Chauffeur” and “Ordinary World” and ignoring the shouted pleas of the larger crowd—particularly one dude whose cries of “Rio!” turned hilariously mournful as the night wore on. Things got a bit self-indulgent on the encore of “Girls On Film,” which stretched out into one of those interminable “Ladies and gentlemen, on the saxophone…” rounds of introduction, included a bizarre snippet of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” and basically ate up several more minutes that could have been used to cram, say, “The Reflex” in there. But even if a Duran Duran show will always need more than just the “now,” the band proved it’s capable of balancing past and present. It’s definitely a hard line to walk—attempting to give fans what they want without coming off as a sad nostalgia act; offering reminders that you’re still making albums without looking like stuck-up prigs who won’t just fucking play “Hungry Like The Wolf” already—and Duran Duran handled it better than most. And the band also played “Hungry Like The Wolf,” and it was awesome. [SO]

Courtesy The Onion/AV Club