April 2, 2010

Megafaun, Mega fun!

Megafaun Review - Black Cat Backstage - March 31, 2010

We've had a good run this past week at soundproofblog, thanks in no small part to the Megafaun show at Black Cat Wednesday night.  We previously saw the band open for Bowerbirds in the same space over the summer, and honestly I felt privileged to see them perform the first show in their first headlining tour last night.

The evening started with opener Sharon Van Etten, a female singer-songwriter who appeared, yes, at SXSW (seriously, who did NOT appear at SXSW?).  And while I can appreciate a pretty, poignant songbird, I'm fascinated by all of the online reviews mentioning her "being from Brooklyn," which has a connotation (i.e. legitimacy).  A. She is from Nashville, it appears.  B. She's pretty regular.  I tried to summarize her set for a few new friends who missed the opener: she sounds like she's probably been, or will land, on a Grey's Anatomy soundtrack.  Pretty standard issue, but seems lovely and super accessible to fans, which is great (except for the creeper with the camera, yikes).  I hope she finds a band and a stride, though, because she's got to give her talent some legs.

After a brief break Megafaun came on.  Such a fond, familiar, pleasant presence--beards, bellies, banjos... I got so into it that my pictures are crappy and I didn't keep track of the setlist, but I remember a few key moments.  Somewhere in the first few songs "they beat us with their Guns."  The song Guns.  And if it was a beating, well call me masochistic (badum-ching).  The Longest Day was the next point of punctuation, and they more than made due sans female singer--it was a quiet, lovely rendition.  As you'll notice in my scorecard, though, thought perhaps they'd take advantage of Van Etten's voice and ask her to duet/do it, but no dice.  And last, but certainly not least (and if I could put more emphasis on that I would) was the encore.  An encore that in my history of showgoing has but a handful of rivals.  The gentlemen unplugged and proceeded to the middle of the crowd for the performance, which became a full-blown singalong.  And it was clear they dug the shit out of it.  And so did we: encircling a trio of mild mannered musicians jamming and singing at the top of their lungs in a crowd of fans who--during the first show on the first tour that they've ever headlined, mind you--sang along too.

The group harmonizes so well, and for being masculine men, I find their voices really sweet and disarming.  And there's something about their sound that only became even more apparent during the show; they have a quality to them that feels classic and new at the same time... maybe it's the contrast of lyrics with a style of music that, with a more standard bluegrass, might have a more concrete subject... yet they remain appropriately esoteric for indie music?  I know, sad attempt at an explanation.  The only downside was the sound system, a harsh buzzy dinosaur of amplification, and the few rare moments when I could hear the jukebox outside over softer songs.  But like I say in my scorecard, not sure I'd trade the venue for anything.

Perhaps I am endeared to giveaways (they gave out sodas off their rider) and genuinity, or these guys have whatever "it" is.  But they're the first "new" band I've listened to in awhile that I really have high hopes for.  Good luck, guys.

1 comment:

  1. Great take on the show. I actually have a really sweet recording of the encore. I would post it, but I sang incredibly loud and that's pretty much all you hear. Sorry folks :(