DAMN — What a Show
I can't come up with a way to adequately express to you in words how good this lineup and show was. All of these bands are good enough to carry a show on their own. When you put them all together in one place — it's something special. That's what we had on our hands last Friday night, Jan. 5, at Empire Garage.
Free Week — a very creatively named period of time where all of Austin's clubs offer shows for free — was well underway by Friday night when I headed out with my camera to meet up with some friends. We caught the bill at Empire Garage - one half of the two-stage Empire Control Room and Garage at Red River and 7th. The bill included Fort Never, Mobley and Blastfamous USA.
I saw Mobley on New Years Eve at Native Hostel and made the terrible mistake of leaving my camera at home. So, I was pretty excited when another opportunity to photograph him made itself available so quickly.
Fort Never is one of my favorite Austin bands. I first photographed them at AH-FUCC — the Austin House-Fest for Unity, Community and Chaos — back in 2016. I have had the pleasure of shooting them a handful of times since, and it's always a great show.
"Home Song" is my jam and on my everyday playlist. The band's driving and tribal percussion, slick electronic soundscapes, cutting lyrics and haunting vocals mix into an intoxicating elixir.
If you haven't had the opportunity to see Mobley, you need to correct that. I get the sense that he will soon be hard to see in such an intimate setting.
His show is incredible and involves a stage full of instruments, audio loops, lights, audience interaction, multimedia presentations and multiple wardrobe changes. He bounces around the stage from instrument to instrument creating this heady weave of sounds he calls "post-genre pop."
He has this intensity and sass that is unmistakable — and it just gives you more confidence in what you're seeing. He knows he's good, and he knows you know it too.
Remember how I mentioned audience interaction? Pictured above is the part of Mobley's show where he brings the audience into the band. Sticking a big floor tom out into the crowd and handing out sticks, Mobley leads his new band members in a marching beat that quickly revs the crowd into a frenzy. At the end of the song, he always quips something along the lines of "I'm going to need those sticks back."
The result is well produced, driving, smart hip hop that is fucking incredible in a live setting. Think Austin's version of RTJ. Yeah.
Mobley joined Blastfamous USA on stage for a cover of Mobley's track and crowd favorite "SOLO," and I'll never be the same.