Westword Music Showcase 2013 recap from Broadways
Brandon Marshall MF Ruckus at the Westword Music Showcase
Every year at the Westword Music Showcase, we enlist our army of Backbeat wordsmiths to host various stages. In addition to their emcee duties, we ask them to pull double duty by submitting a travelogue of their individual stage. Adam Steininger hosted at Broadways this past Saturday. Keep reading for some of the highlights from that stage.
As Flashbulb Fires took the stage behind the patio at Broadways in what felt like its own little exclusive show squeezed between two buildings, the crowd trickled in, hung over and recovering from Friday night. Flashbulb Fires didn't hesitate to get the showcase started and knocked the cobwebs off the undead as the zombiefied crowd shuffled before the stage.
Brandon Marshall Flashbulb Fires
Even a faulty bass pedal didn't derail the band while it eased into the melodic and trippy "The Whale" as the sun seared the tiny brick alcove. The shade was welcoming, but there was only so much of it. Toward the end of the show, drummer Chris Sturniolo substituted his hi-hat stand for two short 2x4s of wood; with it strapped to his foot, he slapped it down on the other 2x4, alternating between bass drum beats. If that didn't already wake the crowd, guitarist Michael James's trash can lids crashed below his left foot before putting a lid on the end of the set.
Through the ever-increasing heat, Instant Empire kicked it up a notch with energy for the crowd and all the late comers as they drank the rest of their Red Bulls and moved on to beers. The band played on despite being a man down due to mechanical issues with Doug Chase's keyboard, swinging into "Keep Up" -- which was about going on a bender. Lead singer Scotty Saunders danced on stage in the harsh heat, which inspired the crowd to start bobbing their heads and dance as sweat beaded on their foreheads.
Brandon Marshall Instant Empire
As vocalist Jeff Wiencrot grabbed everyone's attention by belting out highly emotionally vocals, all eyes couldn't help but notice the lack of a mic stand; instead, there was a five-foot cane-like portable pole attached to a vintage mic. "It lights up, too," Weincrot told the crowd. On songs like "Bend to Colors," the singer pulled out a miked telephone handset and cord, allowing him to distort his voice like a softened megaphone. A puddle of spilt gin and tonic rippled on the rocking floorboards of the stage as Chemistry Club burned through its set. Dylan Camacho's guitar echoed with his careful, subtle, resourceful pick work like a cross between Tom Morello and The Edge.
Brandon Marshall South of France
The most mild-mannered of the bunch, South of France eased in with echoes of guitar and a trippy, spacey sound that had the crowd swaying in place. Harmonious male and female vocals from Jeff Cormack and Kelly Lueke reverberated soothingly off the brick walls as they tiptoed through their set. Their chill music summoned in creeping clouds, inviting an overcast sky that cooled sunburned skin, to the relief of all spectators and musicians.
Brandon Marshall Rob Drabkin
The clouds continuously swept in just like the crowd, which filled the floor between the two buildings. Rob Drabkin opened up his set mellow, gradually infusing full pleasant-sounding vocals that summoned goosebumps while simultaneously strumming his acoustic guitar. Drabkin also addressed the obvious presence of his broccoli-topped hair, which whipped in the wind while he told the crowd about his father's massive Afro. The crowd couldn't help but dance as the band tore into the Paul Simon cover "Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes," drawing it out to great length to keep up the good mood.