After verbally abusing my roommate to no avail for not wanting to come out to Holy Mountain Thursday night, I was prepared to walk out of the bar the same way I walked in; alone. But after some run ins with a few friends and actually talking to a classmate that happened to be at the same show, the night shaped up to be, well, not too bad. Fiver dollars for entry and tunes on the right side of alright isn’t a bad way to spend an otherwise usual Thursday.
Holy Mountain has to be the best new bar in town. Occupying the old Beauty Bar space at the far east end of 7th St., GM and co-owner James Taylor has turned the once hipster gathering pit into a legit live music venue with a real stage and sound system. A redone bar also invites those just looking to kick back as they embrace the end of the workweek.
I came in right as Little Lo began. For a while I thought Little Lo might have been the best indie band in Austin, TX and I hadn’t seen them since Beauty Bar’s last show in…January 2011? Anyways, after a six-month hiatus that allowed vocalist/guitarist Ryan McGill to work on new material, I can’t help but think that these guys, and gals, are back and better than ever. Their sound has always been original, but half way through their set I thought to myself, Damn…they’ve actually found themselves. This is what they’ve been trying to say the whole time. What stood out to me the most was the way McGill’s vocals meshed with those of co-vocalist Bailey Glover. While the two have worked their dual singing to a T, I mainly found the two melodies playfully fighting with each other than walking hand in hand as they did last night. Glover provides a beautiful and strong vocal presence when she sings lead, and haunting accompaniment in harmony and duo when McGill takes over.
Little Lo have always taken me for an adventure with their songs. From tempo changes to vocal breaks, their old routine was fresh and what needed to be heard from an indie band on a weekend. But their new material had me watching an epic through the window of a train car that passed through the most beautiful parts of the country (listen to "Western Epic"). It’s hard to explain without having been there (and without being me), but the new stuff keeps you grounded and comfortable. You can feel emotion and movement without having to leave your happy place. It’s electronic without lending itself to the holding of ominous notes or pressing space bar over and over, and it’s mature. The youth may not be gone from the members, but their music has put on reasonably sized, black-rimed glasses and maybe combed it’s hair instead of letting it run amuck and unwashed.
Between bands I sat outside and let the chill sink in. I saw an actor from a play I saw at the Hyde Park Theatre and thought about telling him what a great job he did, but chickened out. I’ve seen him a few times in public and once or twice on campus and have always thought to say hi. I will one day, but not last night. I sat alone while Reverend Glasseye set up a small orchestra straight out of There Will Be Blood. Ten members later they were ready to wail. And wail they did.
Vocalist Adam Glasseye has a presence on stage that doesn’t match his band’s awkward disposition. Maybe it’s the depression-era threads they sport, or the thinned crowd that was trying to figure out what was happening in front of them as this ragtime orchestra sang tunes of forgiveness amidst awful character traits that have no intention of changing--something I can identify with.
Reverend Glasseye has all the qualities necessary to be that weird indie band: over six members, horns and cello, matching attire with one ray of apparel sunshine in their keyboarder’s bright red blouse. But they just fell short. Their music was the high school equivalent to what they were going for. Not terrible, but bland. There were long rhythm sections that played over and over and were unchanging. The set lacked dynamics that meant more than the front man singing a little louder and more emotionally. And the band looked bored. I will give this band the benefit of he doubt because the musicianship was there. The group has the right idea but can’t fully express it. Maybe it’s the amount of creative input that goes into having ten members contribute to the sound. The niche that holds small orchestras that play bar gigs—Mother Falcon barely pulls it off—is very small. Therefore you have to be bringing the freshness sonically, not the retroness (?) aesthetically.
I went back outside for the last two songs of Reverend Glasseye’s set. More content to watch the drunks walk by (one guy had his full ass exposed as he walked towards the highway), the Reverend did provide the perfect background music to my solitude. My cup was dry and my mind was on recent misdeeds and family illness. My newly shaved head made me feel colder than it was outside. Or was it the mundane droning on providing score to how time won’t pass by fast enough and how things seem to just stay the same? And how sometimes you don’t notice time has existed at all until you look at your watch and realize it’s nearly gone.