Mohawk filled quickly for the highly anticipated evening, featuring performances Balmorhea, The Eastern Sea, and Danny Malone. Showcasing some of Austin’s greatest talent, the evening ran on laughter, enamoring personalities and, of course, exceptional compositions.
Opening for the night, Danny Malone, recently honored by the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, was accompanied by bassist Andrew Pressman. They started off the evening by warming up the cold atmosphere with tender songs of admiration, such as “Sailing” and “My Affection”, from Cuddlebug. During the eerie, yet surprisingly catchy and fun track, “Basement”, Malone humored the audience by asking everyone to move up and sing “I’m stiff as board and I’m light as a feather” as he surfed the howling crowd from the stage and back, all while Pressman held the steady beat. Though, primarily focusing on his latest album, Cuddlebug, Danny Malone’s performance also featured two new songs, “Wait One Me”, and another brilliant, but solemn track, featuring delicate guitar strumming and dark lyrics about drug use. Malone knows how to please his audience; closing out his stage time with the crowd favorite, “Baby Bleu”, during which the crowd shouted the lyrics at the top of their lungs into the chilly night sky.
As a gentle blue light coated The Eastern Sea, “Plague” haunted the eager audience as they awaited a glorifying experience from the band. “Plague” is an eerie and magnificently composed and written track that will be featured on the band’s upcoming, first full length album, Plague. Currently, the band has been fundraising through Kickstarter to afford the costs of the album, and hope to release in March. Most of the songs showcased by The Eastern Sea that evening will be featured on their upcoming album. Another song performed by The Eastern Sea and also featured on their upcoming album, was the upbeat, yet dark track, “Santa Rosa”, which captivated the audience as the band flaunted their musical souls on stage. Despite mostly performing new material, the band also graced the audience with sweet brass and a sense of celestial suspension during “The Sea”, a track from their second EP. During their last song, “China Untitled, 1”, The Eastern Sea ended with the entire band jumping off the front of the stage and embedding themselves in the heart of the crowd. The rhythmic beats of the tambourine pulsed amidst the chaos as the viscous sound of sweet brass swam through the audience.
As the momentum of the night progressed, it was finally time for Balmorhea to hypnotize everyone in the venue with their magical cadences for a climactic experience. Diving into their performance, Balmorhea featured one of their most powerful tracks, “Coahuila”, from their 2009 album, All Is Wild, All Is Silent. Among the tender violin–uplifting and nurturing–, the wailing sirens of the strings and the constant push and pulling sounds of the percussion, the entranced audience received a glance into the bottomless abyss of magic Balmorhea lured them into. Featured from their latest album, Constellations, “Bowsprit” and “Night Squall” displayed the groups various talents and their incredible ability to be emotively powerful. The band also treated the audience to a brand new song, during which the audience moved about, generating heat as the violin and cello harmonized, and the guitar brilliantly held its own. Balmorhea, as enchanting as ever, truly stirred the audience when they showcased both tracks from their limited edition 7” vinyl, Candor/Clamor to close out the evening. Despite it being the first time the band performed Candor live, the tracks were both performed flawlessly, closing the evening out with resonating chords and an entranced audience.
Transmission Entertainment and Vagabond Collective could not have put together a more incredible line-up. Artist after artist, the energy was cultivated and orchestrated until Balmorhea closed with unmistakable valiance. Danny Malone and The Eastern Sea charmed the audience with heart-warming personalities and outstanding compositions. The Austin-native artists truly give the city something to boast about.
(Balmorhea performed at Mohawk in Austin, Texas on February 25, 2011)