Halley (Photo By Gary Miller)
HalleyMercury, July 17
Thursday night was Halley's grand arrival, and it was fit for the star charts. The local fivepiece's set had all the signs of a breakthrough, a welcoming into the upper echelon of Austin bands. A diverse sonic barrage saturated everything they did, creating an atmosphere that was elegant to explosive and all points in between. The twin brothers Ankeney, William and Gary, on effected guitar and keyboards/laptop respectively, pumped out carnivalesque jigs, Grandaddy-like silicon chirps, and near the end of the evening, a beautiful Spiritualized-style phased drone. Piling on waves of theremin and massive walls of noise, eventually their set reached critical mass. From the Negative Zone emerged frontman Trace Faulkner and a shimmering cover of Spiritualized's feel-good anthem "Lay Back in the Sun." There was even a dual trombone section on hand for the Flaming Lips-goes-Mardi Gras "Adventures of Georgie and the Robbers." A generous heaping of new material found Faulkner and drummer Scott Oliphant in a Trail of Dead-style tradeoff. A blending of new, more aggressively rhythmic pieces with the panoramic magnificence of last year's debut, Forget the Leaves, Autumn Will Change Us
, has led to the full blossoming of a band that's already proven they can make a killer album. Similarly accomplished are openers My Education, a local chamber rock septet with the emphasis on rock. Their sound is a series of ripples, each moving individually but coming together as one majestic tidal wave. Together with other valiant Austin cosmonauts like Winslow and Experimental Aircraft, these bands make up a top-notch local scene that could fill out one hell of a label roster. On the same wavelength is S.F.'s Sciflyer, who played between My Education and Halley, authoring a tightly wound set of deep, robust basslines and hypnotic, shifting textures. Flying a flag for Swervedriver's criminally underrated debut, Raise
, Sciflyer offered an exquisite icing on the cake of Halley's coming-out party.