SXSW Live Shot: East Cameron Folkcore

Austin’s indomitable new-era Springsteens

East Cameron Folkcore plays every show as if their lives depend on it. The Austin eightpiece unleashes a galvanizing force that’s part social protest, part cathartic release, part celebratory anthem. All wrangled through the vital voice of a restless and wanting generation.

The Rising or simply an uprising? Austin’s East Cameron Folkcore, 3.17.15 (Photo by John Anderson)

The local outfit led off its opening SXSW showcase slot with a blistering statement of intent, Mario Savio’s 1964 “put your bodies upon the gears” speech broadcasting into the explosive “Robin Hoods Rise” from standout 2013 sophomore outing For Sale. Likewise, frontman Jesse Moore pulls no punches in railing against predatory loans through “Sallie-Mae,” cast as a bitter lovers ballad.

Three songs in, the band was already a thrash of sweat and flailing hair, veins pulsing and voices quaking with intensity from the frontline five as Blake Bernstein led “Worst Enemy.” Launching into the title track from their upcoming third LP, Kingdom of Fear, the band rolled through newer material “The Joke” and “969” that flowed seamlessly into a catalog of zeitgeist-driven cultural commentary and personal struggle.

The apex arrived behind “Our City,” with April Perez leading the soulful dirge for a fast-gentrifying city as Moore howled grit against greed and Bernstein flung frustration around the stage. “Newspeak” broiled over “Into Hell’s Sea” as group swelled to chorus, closing with the crashing B-side “Sheep Staring at a Gun.”

Like new-era Springsteens, ECF may be beaten down by hard realities, but the force of their music refuses to break.

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East Cameron Folkcore, SXSW Music 2015, Jesse Moore, Blake Bernstein, April Perez, Bruce Springsteen

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