Posted in music | tour dates on September 21, 2009

by Bill Pearis

That Petrol Emotion

There's always one band at SXSW that makes you do a double-take when you see them on the schedule. For me it was That Petrol Emotion, who were popular in the late '80s (on college radio at least) and broke up in 1994. They were the band the O'Neil brothers of The Undertones formed when Feargal Sharkey left in 1983, recruiting Seattleite Steve Mack for vocals. The crowd to see them in at 1AM was sparse, but included Bell House / Union Hall booker Skippy, Britt Daniel and Andrew Bird. Sound was a bit of a mess, but the band played great - vocalist Steve Mack was still manic as ever, and they played my favorite TPE song, "It's a Good Thing."
That Petrol Emotion were one of my favorite shows at SXSW this year, and now the they'll be back in the U.S. playing The Bell House on December 12. This will be TPE's first New York show in 15 years -- tickets are already on sale. It's their only upcoming U.S. show as of this writing. While the SXSW set I saw focused mainly on the band's more straightforward final two albums (1990's Chemicrazy and 1993's Fireproof), I'm hoping the Bell House folks will try and get them to break out some of TPE's jagged early stuff like "V2" (from their essential first album Manic Pop Thrill) or "Creeping to the Cross" (from 1986's Babble).

Some classic TPE videos, plus footage from that SXSW show, are below...

Big Decision

Sensitize

Keen

"It's a Good Thing" at SXSW 2009

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Comments (11)

Mmmmm, yes - "Creeping to the Cross" is very good.

Posted by Dfactor | September 21, 2009 3:50 PM

This is very exciting news. They were simply superb at SXSW. Let's hope a big NY crowd turns out for the show.

Posted by nevets13 | September 21, 2009 4:38 PM

I saw them a bunch of times in the 80-90's and they were always excellent!!!! Lots of energy....and strobe lights.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 4:45 PM

Sweet! I'll pretend to have heard of them too!

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 5:07 PM

you are just young and stuck with bands like TVOTR...TPE had a past..they were made of members of the undertones...with a brilliant singer from seattle.....BTW..Babble is still a great listen. So dust off your cassettes cuz the elders are going to show you how it was done!

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 5:54 PM

it might seem unbelievable - but there were great bands that existed before pitchfork and even the itnernet.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 6:08 PM

I'm with you on the early albums 'Manic Pop Thrill' is absolutely amazing!

Posted by Fanning Sessions | September 21, 2009 6:21 PM

Yes, they were fantastic at SXSW.

Posted by Glenn | September 21, 2009 7:40 PM

Yeah 6:08, before the "itnernet" salt of the earth bands like TPE had to get by on NME covers alone.

This was a really bad time to invoke the Pitchfork hype machine since the brit music press stroked this band pretty hard back in the day.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 9:08 PM

I am 6:08. maybe so, but not for americans. Those mags were hard to get and find.
I liked TPE but heard them on the radio.

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2009 10:52 PM

best three days of 09 were spent there. hopefully best three days of 10 will be spent there too.

Posted by louis | October 17, 2009 12:50 PM

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