"We're called American Sharks. You don't mind if we start off with some fast rock & roll, do you?" So asked the burly Mike Hardin before the local trio exploded into a tsunami that left nothing but blood in the water from all the headbanging. Hardin, recently relocated to Austin from Houston after fronting the stoner glam of Roky Moon and BOLT!, vied for the most lovable man in metal by threatening to bear-hug the entire audience in appreciation. It was a complete contrast to the Sharks' massive riffage, which rightfully earned them a recent opening slot on tour with the Sword. Though the set timed out too short, it fed well into the Southern rock explosion of East Cameron Folkcore, the notoriously sprawling outfit packing the stage as a 10-piece and sounding like a Lucero hootenany. Moody and gravelly beyond desperation, Allen Dennard and Blue Mongeon competed in stomping across the stage, showcasing tunes from February's upcoming For Sale, including lead anthem "Salinger Is Dead," the dark "Ophelia," and biting "Sallie Mae," all proving ECFC is perched for breakout. Mohawk's outside stage remains ideally constructed for any Riverboat Gamblers' slot, its rafters begging for Mike Wiebe's acrobatics. The frontman didn't disappoint, diving from the balcony to crowd surf and ripping his shirt as he pinballed against the concrete walls. Digging deep, the veteran Austin punk quintet roared through "Hey! Hey! Hey!," "True Crime," and dished gritty gutter glory with "The Ol' Smash and Grab." Still swinging, still knocking it out.
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