The Austin Chronicle

Free Week Live Shots Part 1

Highlights from first half of Free Week

Reviewed by Adam Schragin, January 11, 2013, Music

Eagle Claw, Tia Carrera, Megafauna, Flesh Lights, Smoke & Feathers, My Education

Red 7, Jan. 5

The microphone was mostly ornamental, but when Matt Rade of "instru-metal" locals Eagle Claw stepped up to it in between songs to praise a bill he described as "eclectic," he wasn't blowing smoke. Saturday night, Red 7's inside and outside stages came buttressed by power trios, flavors of punk, hard rock, and metal, all with an ensuring devotion to volume. The line outside the club snaked long and the weather blew cold, making it all that much easier to cozy up to other patrons for Tia Carrera's unspooling jams, more psych when Jason Morales took lead guitar, and cleaner when Jamey Simms switched off. The project remains anchored by Erik Conn, a drummer of preternatural skill. Another trio with a classically hard footprint is Megafauna, which reaches into a grab bag of progressive song skeletons over which guitarist Dani Neff shreds magnificently. Outside, the Flesh Lights pounded out a set of power punk so manic that steam rose off bassist Jeremy Steen. High, reedy vocals from Smoke & Feathers singer Josh Terry took their melted Southern rock into darker, less familiar territory, though it was Hunter Cahalan's turn at the mic and theremin that maximized eyeballs to the front of the room. At this point the crush of people hadn't subsided, and, outside, the aforementioned Eagle Claw pushed hard into 1am with a pounding set of new and old material, including the first track they wrote as a band, "Milk." Last up, My Education's woozy improvisation was a good come-down featuring Skye Ashbrook on a bounce-spitting drum machine, equal parts Hot Boys and Mogwai – eclectic all right.

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