Sunday’s show at The Owl was a fantastic night of experimental and unique folk sounds. The Owl, a venue and art gallery in East Austin, is comfortable and welcoming with a homey DIY vibe.
Cole Bee Wilson performed as H. Thunderbolt using two guitars, a glockenspiel played with two bows, a kalimba/thumb piano, effects pedals and a loop station. (I might have left something out.) His set was based on historical events leading up to the Battle of Cannae and his songs, as well as the background he offered, were engaging, entertaining, and educating.
Human Behavior‘s lineup was different than their last Austin show and featured clarinet and violin in addition to 12-string guitar, banjo, TVs, chains, rattling bones and haunting vocal arrangements. I considered requesting “Crag” and/or “Always Cold,” but it seemed like they had a plan and I didn’t want to interfere. Seeing them live is such a surreal experience; powerful and mesmerizing.
The duo Cross Record closed out the night with enchanting vocals, electric guitars, a big bass drum (and a smaller one) and additional percussion. Emily and Dan relocated from Chicago last fall, but they already seem to be at home in Texas, playing Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt covers.
The crowd was nice, attentive and responsive; it was reassuring to see that The Owl attracts such dedicated listeners. I opened the show with a short set, mostly on guitar, and closed with a new song:
- hey, hey (guitar and harmonica)
- the road through the headlights (guitar)
- upright to the wind (guitar and harmonica)
- the only light (banjo)
- dust (guitar)
- details (guitar and harmonica)