Monday, November 06, 2006

Russian Ghosts and a Sad Scene


Finally, back to some level of normalcy. EZ Archive is the devil! Give it up to Joe for surviving another year. We both thought we would be dead by now. And big ups to Vince for getting popped by Best Week Ever and weathering the wrath of the Claymates. There was a point to this post, I am sure.

Oh, yes. Friday, I took leave of my humble suburban abode to venture Red River way, to Mohawk more specifically. This cool November evening, a local band who pops up regularly in the weekly Austin scene posts was playing, Ghost of the Russian Empire.



Let me first say something about the venue. Mohawk is one of the newest venues in the Austin club scene. Apparently, one or more of the owners are co-workers with my wife, but I digress. Some of you locals may know it as the Velvet Spade, the last drinking stop heading north on Red River into the array of government and university buildings. The "viewing area" as I shall call it, is very compact, but it is a nice size venue inside, two rooms split by the bar. However, it can get very loud in the viewing area and the acoustics in a squarish room aren't the greatest. I have been there three times for performances and the overall sonic mix was mediocre at best. The instruments and vocals are often overpowered by one another. I would say it would be better suited for quieter artists, but I will not stop going there because of it. Enough about the venue.

For those who have not sampled GOTRE from previous weeklys or heard them somewhere else, imagine a mix of the heavy guitar of The Black Angels and the shoe-gaze of I Love You, But I've Chosen Darkness. That is probably the best comparison I could come up with. They are getting much love from the local music press and internet reviews, as posted on their myspace page. I will have to catch these guys again at a different venue that is not so overpowering in sheer volume to get a better idea of how they sound live.

That being said, I found myself there being one of about 20 people, including the band and bar staff, and I am sure I was one of about 3 that wasn't a friend of the band. Austin is billed as the 'Live Music Capital of the World'. We take pride in that, but apparently we do not take pride in our local music scene. In the handful of shows I have seen since we started this page, I noticed the local bands getting little love (read: not going to the show) from those not associated with the band in some way, be it friends, family, or other bands. Where are all these people? We are a metro area of over one million, there is a huge university of 50 thousand students 15 blocks away. There have got to be more than 20 people that want to see a live band on any given night.

Yes, it is Austin. If it doesn't have a longhorn and a football or some buzz attached to it, good luck drawing a crowd. I try to do my best to let you, my readers, be aware of what is going on in town, whether local or national scene. We all know of the success of Spoon and Trail of Dead, the buzz being generated by The Black Angels and Ghostland Observatory, but there are so many other bands that are unnoticed and underappreciated in this fine city of ours, like The Drawing Board and The Boxing Lesson. It is up to us, those who love music and want to keep Austin weird and local, to support the acts who are Austin's own and usually first and second on the bill.

I am kind of ranting and my thoughts are very disjointed, but I think my point has been made. Support your local scene! All those listed below are Austin area bands or claim Austin as their home base. Listen to them. If you like, go see them when they play and bring some friends. Let the bands know you heard of them from me. We are all about getting the word out. And another good mix of Austin Artists on Gorilla vs. Bear.

Aux - Angus
Belhome - Before We Drown
Benko - B Movie Production
Brothers and Sisters - Breathing Lessons
Dana Falconberry - Paper Sailboat
David Garza - Ready to Fly
Dross - The Voices In My Head
February Chorus - Cars and Planes
For Those Who Know - Perfect
Ghost of the Russian Empire - August 1914
Go Nova - Now You Know
Happy Families - I Wanna Fuck ClapClap
Just Guns - Waiting To Be
Lalaland - Crack Up
Loxsly - The Rainbow Connection
Oh No! Oh My! - Walk In The Park
Peter and the Wolf - Paint The Town
Quiet Company - Tie Your Monster Down
Rescue Mission - Conversion
She, Sir - The Clandestine
Sparrow House - The Reflection
The Always Already - Kinetic Hillsides
The Black - Cellblock
The Boxing Lesson - Back From The Dead
The Drawing Board - The Writer
The Last Gasp - Beautiful Faces
The Lord Henry - Like You Like Me
The Lovely Sparrows - Chemicals Change
The Mercers - Sexy Youth
The Paper South - Ready or Not
The Shells - Wouldn't Be The Same
Will Johnson - Just To Know What You've Been Dreaming
Xcella - Glee Foundation



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