Category Archives: Indie

Brother Moses in Austin: Show Review + interview

Story: Kail Rose, Photography: Christopher De La Rosa & K Rose

On Friday we had the privilege of catching NYC indie rock band Brother Moses live at Stubbs Austin, the first stop on their headlining tour for the month of February. 

We show up early in the evening, cruising through the still-empty Stubbs downstairs venue. Out back, there’s a crew playing football in the vast expanse of the Stubbs amphitheater yard, which I’m used to seeing jam-packed full of people. I quickly realize it’s the band themselves and their opener Feeves. They see us and head straight over to introduce themselves; James, John-Lewis, Moses and Corey, who comes with his own tagline: “the Best Drummer in the World.” 

We take over the spacious back garden’s notorious Airstream trailer for a quick informal video interview. We chat about humble beginnings, dance-fueled performances and how they are addressing real-world experiences with music that is fun and lighthearted. I later realize it’s the type of music that brings us together in a celebration of being humble, human, flawed and flawless. 

We skip upstairs to grab a quick bite of legendary Stubbs Barbecue before Feeves warms up the crowd with a fresh indie set. The evening crowd fills in quickly. It’s a predominantly younger group; college kids and those in their later 20s. A few hip couples in denim, slouchy beanies and vintage boots, sipping a craft beer. We spot many a girl gang, locked elbows, giggling and ready to dance. 

As Brother Moses takes the stage, the hype is very real. The venue and the crowd are literally buzzing. These people are here to boogie. As they kick off the set, it’s apparent that there will be no rockstar power poses, no slamming back a beer with a side of ego; no, none of that. Their humble and relatable demeanor makes this an inclusive performance. We’re not just here to see this band, but to become a part of their performance. With palpable energy, we unwittingly find ourselves committed – committed to celebrating our quirks and crazies, and to dance like nobody’s watching. 

After more than one occasion of a show-stopping technical issue, frontman James exclaims; “this is just like that time you have that nightmare where you go on stage and you’re in your underwear and all your stuff starts breaking… except this is real life.” Turning misfortune into humor, it’s an opportunity to connect with the audience, make them part of the show. I almost wonder if this was rehearsed. But the audience is game; hooting & hollering when finally Feeves brings us a backup guitar and saves the show. 

They progress through old hits and new material, somehow amplifying the energy as they go. Two blonde college girls slam back their White Claws, sling their tiny purses over their shoulder and barrel through the crowd in an impressively dainty fashion for What Does It Take. Blonde locks are flying as they dance and spin each other. The crowd parts to circle around this informal dance-off. Guitarists John-Lewis and Moses jump down into the crowd, in between twirling girls, for the song finale. Carefree is the word of the night.

And somehow Brother Moses manages a very full sound – a set of surprisingly intricate, groovy, quirky songs. John-Lewis and James trade off on the keyboard and guitar. With signature floppy hair and wireframe glasses doing nothing to conceal a cheeky sparkle of confidence (likely from his most excellent dance moves, if I must be honest…), James leads the vocals with quirk, kitsch and utter coolness. I see why this crowd had arrived with soaring expectations and impressive energy. And despite all expectations, this is a band that sounds even better live than recorded. 

I highly recommend you catch their live show, and grab their music here. Check out their remaining February tour stops and keep an eye out on March 6 to catch the release of Desperation Pop.

Half Alive packs the Culture Room

The entire venue turned dark. Not a light anywhere, even the empty bars are dark. With the darkness came roars of approval from the largely teenage crowd, and then the opening chords of ok ok?, the smash hit from the Long Beach indie-pop band Half*Alive. With only a single hand-held spotlight to light their faces the trio played their way through a highly choreographed set of danceable yet abstract tunes, mostly from the recent release Now, Not Yet and a pair coming from the 2017 EP 3

The interesting choice of choreography, a mix of ’80’s popping and locking blended with Talking Heads era David Byrne was omnipresent all night as the crowd imitated every move of their idols. The music itself a sort of mashup of pop with quasi-religious overtones, or as lead singer Josh Taylor calls it, “the sweet spot between a strict and relatable”. Well said Josh. 

This is a band and a show with no discernable musical influences yet many at the same time. Is that Chance The Rapper I hear there, no, maybe Susan Stevens? And the name, well that’s a reference to Freud. Confused, don’t be. Stand back and enjoy this riveting live show the next time they come to town. Just don’t try to explain it to anyone. 

The opening act for the evening’s festivities was South Florida locals, The Polar Boys, bringing their take on retro surf-rock to the party.

​Geoff Clowes is a South Florida-based live music photographer. He’s shot hundreds of bands over the years in three countries in venues giant and intimate; “but it’s always the local shows in the small venues that I look forward to shooting the most.”

“Music photography allows me to indulge my passion for music, photography, and travel at the same time. I am truly blessed to be able to photograph the bands whose posters once adorned the walls of my childhood bedroom while also getting a pit view of the newest up and coming acts. None of this would be possible without the support of editors that believe in my art and an understanding family.”

Geoff brings with him a wealth of experience and a poignant black-and-white style that strikingly captures the passionate spirit of the artists he’s shooting.

Follow him on social media and his website, Sage and Spirit Photography.

Wilderado & Mt. Joy ​Play a sold-out show at Scoot Inn, Austin TX

On a chilly Thursday evening, Scoot Inn played host to an indie rock pairing of epic proportions. Selling out the intimate outdoor venue, Wilderado and Mt. Joy brought their unique, upbeat indie flavors to an adoring crowd for an all-too-short evening of great live music.

Wilderado kickstarts the night with a laid-back set, beer-in-hand. Infamously once called ‘Bird Dog,’ the indie folk band hails from Tulsa, OK and has released three EPs (four if you count the acoustic version of 2018’s Favors). They are the epitome of what Austin loves best; solid music, a mellow indie vibe, and quirky unassuming personality. Their merch says it all, really. I take a quick spin past a table offering mildly distressed pastel tees, leather-encased lighters, beer koozies, earth-tone hats and vinyl encased in muted psychedelic patterns. This is indie folk rock at it’s best. 

The set opens with metered, groovy energy. Wilderado’s brand of folk rock boasts nothing over the top. Their performance is deliciously subdued, uplifted by pretty vocals – soaring at times, others in perfect raspy harmony. It’s pleasant indie rock that pairs perfectly with your craft beer. This isn’t a band that needs to be big. It’s groovy, fun, stoically upbeat and thoroughly enjoyable. 

It’s a short set -just 45 minutes- allowing the many 30-somethings with painstakingly groomed mustaches, trucker hats and faux vintage leather everything some time to purchase another Deep Eddy & soda for the petite blonde in baggy boyfriend jeans, a messy ponytail, deceptively pricey boots and an over-sized sweater. I wonder if she’s overheating (it’s really not that cold) as I eavesdrop on a trendy Hipster nouveau trio slamming the venue for being sold out of their favorite White Claw flavor. Several man buns bumble past in a skunky haze that is most certainly not cigarette smoke. A lanky girl clad in a tie-dye dress and pirate-esque dreads sways next to the Mission Dogs food cart, giggling; “hehe! It smells like hotdogs!” Austin certainly boasts a unique crowd. It’s a guilty pleasure to sit and people-watch in between sets.

​Mt. Joy are up next; the colorful, joyously upbeat indie-meets-psych-rock quintet always brings a great show and tonight is no exception. Hailing from Los Angeles, they debuted single Astrovan in 2016 and gently exploded into the contemporary music scene. They haven’t looked back, hitting major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza in the last two years. It’s a deserved victory. Their set features a tidal wave of upbeat hits interspersed with newer material. Notably of their upcoming album release, of which single Rearrange Us was released the day prior. Spoiler: it’s groovy, melancholic and excellent. With neighborhood restrictions on the venue, it’s an all-to-early finish, but we leave pleasantly uplifted. The front row is clearly exhausted from exuberant fangirling, while the rest of us silently wish we could do it all over again. There’s a reason Mt Joy is selling out in cities across the US. With a sound that could fill an arena, it’s a treat to catch them in an intimate local Austin venue.