The Austin Chronicle

Free Week Live Shots

By Kahron Spearman, January 9, 2015, Music

Messages, Berkshire Hounds, Violinda, Mother Falcon

Empire Garage, Jan. 2

Cold generally remains the great bête noire of live music, even for a free show. Those braving icebox temperatures and a bullying rain were treated to warm, full-bodied performances. String instruments quickly became a motif, starting with Violinda, a talented Texas State student with the germane sobriquet. She played her 20 years' experience into layers of information, understanding the rules of her instrument as she deconstructs them. Power-everything band Berkshire Hounds howled into the chilly night, playing with an approachable appeal. The jazzy blues-rock and Sixties Brit combinations always led to excellent and powerful pop choruses. Messages, formerly known as Mighty Mountain, provided a positive and politically tinged collection of songs teeming with knockout hooks. Their peaking energy was the norm, equally adept at country hoedown and sounds reminiscent of early Coldplay. Not-so-surprise guest Mother Falcon cut through the dark chill with a dynamic close. Ranging from raucous to meditative, the 10-piece constantly turned the page from disjointed orchestra to dance-punk ensemble and harmonized schizophrenia.

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