The Austin music scene through the eyes of a programmer/music enthusiast/show-goer

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Austin no 'Sad, Sad City'

Ghostland Observatory, Say Hi To Your Mom blow collective minds of Emos-goers

I first saw Austin band, Ghostland Observatory, in a drunken haze during an early evening performance during SXSW this year. It was at an outdoor venue behind Emos' alley (I forget the name), but the venue kinda blew for this band. My friends stood in shock as they pondered why Derek and I brought them to this joint to watch a younger Willie Nelson look-alike dance around like he was on crack to this unique brand of electronic rock. It was a little disappointing, but they showed serious promise. I kept saying I'd see them again in a proper joint for their sound ... like Emos.

Ghostland play KVRX live. photo by Garrett Traya

Well that day finally came last Saturday night. It was worth the wait. Ghostland rocked the F**KING house! I honestly can't say I've ever seen so many indie-fied, hipster types collectively looking like they were actually into the band playing on stage. There was dancing, singing, a mosh pit?!?, people on the stage ... INSANITY!!!

The evening began with a set from Brooklyn rockers Say Hi To Your Mom. Since hearing a few of their tracks on KEXP I've been intrigued. I checked out their solid 4th album, Impeccable Blahs, and was excited to see they were playing the indoor stage of the Ghostland bill. Their vampire infused songs were even better live than on the album. Album and show opener, 'These Fangs,' was a highlight, and there wasn't really a bad song in the set.

Then it was time for the main attraction. From the show opener, 'Piano Man,' I knew it would be a long, sweaty, ridiculous night. That it was. Ghostland, made up of singer/guitarist Aaron Behrens and drummer/knob-turner Thomas Turner, had the entire audience hooked from the first song. Turner rolled up in a floor length, baby blue cape w/ the huge Dracula collar! Who wears a cape? It was quality. Nice way to ring in his birthday, which happened to be that night. Behrens rocked his trademark Willie braids and shades. They came to rock.

Ghostland blasted through songs from both of their albums, last year's and 2006's Paparazzi Lightning. By the end of the set, random girls were climbing on stage just to strut their stuff, while Ghostland charged on unaware, or just unfazed by the distraction. Eventually during the show's encore the stage filled with what looked like 100 people that filled in every hole the band didn't take up onstage. It was amazing to see that many people on the outdoor stage at Emos, dancing away as Ghostland blasted on.

Their myspace page says they are playing again in Austin on 9/8 and again on 10/6, both at locations TBA. After experiencing what was one of the more enjoyable live shows in Austin that I can remember, I'll be at at least one of those upcoming shows. I advise you do the same.


Anonymous Private Labeling said...

This was a really quality post. In theory I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real effort to make a good article... but what can I say... I procrastinate a lot and never seem to get something done.

7:03 AM  

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