Photo By Mary Sledd
Shane BartellLava Lounge Patio, Wednesday, March 17
At the onset of this outdoor patio showcase on Seventh Street, Shane Bartell took a seat to survey the scene. There was no time to get comfortable, though, because before you knew it, Bartell was belting out a set of fire, salt, and cotton candy that would make David Gray's temples burst. Bartell is a singular entity in Austin. His regular gigs and weekly residency at Ego's on South Congress attract the town's self-conscious hipster folk, teaching them valuable lessons about passion, pop, and what makes a song resonate after the bartenders have counted their loot and headed for a soft bed. This showcase was no big deal for Bartell and his steadily spectacular band, which includes Marcus Rice on bass, Derek Morris on keys, and Stephen Bres on drums. Celebrating the anointment of Bartell's producer and collaborator Lars Goransson as Producer of the Year at the Austin Music Awards, the floor was filled with couples swinging into the night as Bartell regaled such soft caresses as "Stars Burn Out," his take tropicalia on Caetano Veloso, featured on his divine full-length debut, Too Soon to Say
. After several rounds of embrace and explode punctuated by rousing choruses celebrating love and passion, the regret sets in. "Up for Air," the ultimate post-breakup song, filled the air with vignettes of decay, bitterness, and enthusiastic celebration of loads lifted. Morris embellished Bartell's heavy strum on the Eastern flavored "If I Could Only Get My Head Out of the Gutter," which neatly wraps the package of longing, triumph, and frustration into an immaculately crafted framework. Lovers, drunks, and industry folks alike can cheer for someone like Shane Bartell.