SXSW: Visqueen opens NPR showcase Wednesday night with quick set at Stubbs

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Wednesday was a big deal for Seattle band Visqueen: Just two year ago, leader Rachel Flotard thought she might be finished with music.

Instead, she and her band recorded last year’s stunning power-pop album “Message to Garcia,” which led to a high-profile performance opening NPR’s talent-packed showcase Wednesday night at Stubbs’ amphitheater.

With Neko Case watching from the audience, Flotard started quietly, singing “So Long” with accompaniment from cello before the rest of the band joined her for the rollicking “Hand Me Down.”

The group only had time for five songs, but they were five winners: “Capitol” was flat-out blistering, and Flotard’s powerful voice filled the amphitheater on “Ward.” Visqueen ended with “Fight for Love.”

— Text and photo by Eric R. Danton