The Austin Chronicle

Free Week Live Shots

By Jim Caligiuri, January 9, 2015, Music

Hard Proof, Eastern Sea, Whiite Walls

Mohawk, Jan. 3

With two stages pumped up simultaneously and a typically huge Saturday night crowd, Mohawk felt more like South by Southwest than Free Week. Whiite Walls' electro-dance (some might call it disco) pulsed smoothly considering the quartet's snotty stage patter. Bassist George Garcia anchors mega grooves that offset occasional soaring harmonies. On the inside stage, Big Fist were the surprise of the night. Charismatic frontman Sam Chown (Shmu, Zorch) admitted playing only their second gig, but led the fivepiece through several gears of guitar skronk. A venture into space on ethereal trumpet preceded a mess of post-rock that was exquisite and noisy. Even with temperatures in the 40s, the Eastern Sea drew the largest and most adoring crowd outside. Leaning heavily on songs from 2012's Plague, they also debuted new tunes from a promised 2015 release that bounced funky to anthemic, an obvious expansion on their folk pop past and distinctly different from the Afrobeat blast that followed. At 10 members you expect Hard Proof to sound big, but they're gifted as well. Three drummers meant complex rhythms venturing toward a jazz fusion that was more rock influenced than in the past, while at the same time remaining tight and in the pocket.

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