On paper Little Green Cars is a collection of fresh-faced 20-year-olds from Dublin, and when half the band plied onstage at DC9 on Wednesday with huge black X’s on their hands that shrieked UNDERAGE to everyone who’s been alive long enough to drink beer in America, it would have taken a Herculean effort to erase the aura of youth and potential inexperience. Fully up to the task, the front four members of LGC -- whose collective age is equivalent to 1.7 Rolling Stones -- stepped up to a line of mikes and opened the show with three minutes of soul-melting a cappella, and from that moment forward they owned the room.
Falling effortlessly into “Goodbye Blue Monday,” the closing track from their forthcoming debut Absolute Zero, lead singer Stevie Appleby accompanied harmonic backing vocals with an acoustic guitar and the effect was sparkly-new-indie-band crossed with children’s-church-choir. By the time the band reached “Harper Lee,” the second single off the album and an obvious crowd favorite, the combination of Appleby’s soaring falsetto and Faye O’Rourke’s Cranberries-esque vocals proved why every SXSW attendee had “Go See This Band or Your Grandma Will Get Shingles” tattooed on their foreheads after leaving their show. Performing a beautiful and faithful rendition of that song, the band clearly recognized that they are too new on the scene to start screwing around with one of the only two songs most of the crowd had heard before.
After a broken guitar string and a quick poem about the month they’ve spent in the United States, Appleby led the band through “Angel Owl,” before devolving into a lot of inexplicable gibberish in thick Irish brogue. As usual, when you already own the crowd, no one cares when shit goes awry, and one of the continual surprising things about Little Green Cars was how remarkably poised and comfortable on stage they all are at such a young age. That’s partially explained by the fact that they’ve been together for five years already, forming when everyone was 15, and partially because they’re just really fucking good.