Despite the haunting name of the venue, The Ghost Room is a very inviting place for live music. On any given night of the week it is easy to stumble into the eclectic and dimly lit bar to see some of Austin’s finest musicians gracing the stage tucked into the corner of the bar. With the Christmas lights gently swinging down over the musicians, the ambiance is somewhat changed from a haunting old building to a humble music venue. Wednesday, April 20th we were present to watch Ghost on the Brazos and Ethan Kennedy perform.
With a cover of five dollars, it is hard not to catch some music on a Wednesday night, and having heard some buzz around Austin about Ghost on the Brazos, we felt compelled to check out the group. The hype was indeed correct as the band immediately burst into a funky/blues tune, heavy with organ and blues guitar solos. It was a great way to start a set and immediately had the crowd exited and eager for more. The group picked up the tempo for the second song as they blazed through a Texas Swing tune filled with chants and wonderfully executed harmonizing vocals from the lead singer and lead guitarist. The music was fun and well played with brief moments from every musician taking time throughout the songs to demonstrate their expertise on their respective instrument. With moments of fast paced Texas swing music to the slower moments of a waltz, the band had the audience dancing and watching in awe at the talented musicians. One of the most memorable songs of the night was the interesting love song about the bass player and his would be “post apocalyptic princess.” It was romantic in a post apocalyptic, chasing children around a fall out shelter and lets start a new life in a new world kind of way. To say the least, it was a very cleverly written song and brilliantly unforgettable. As the set progressed, we were constantly drawn to the interesting sound and impressed with the talent of the group and the interesting sound.
Following Ghost on the Brazos was Ethan Kennedy and his band, which had been recommended to us by the drummer of the group. We have to admit that when a fellow musician recommends a group we will always support the artist, while gauging the performance heavily. To be honest, Ghost on the Brazos were a hard act to follow, however as the Ethan Kennedy set progressed, we found ourselves becoming fans of his rock, blues and funk infused sound. At times the drums led the way as the guitars and bass followed, other times the dissonant chords from Mr. Kennedy would morph from a heavy rock riff to a funky bass driven tune. With his soulful vocals ringing over the microphone, Ethan Kennedy changed the tempo as the group started the mellow ambient song “Black Swan” by Thom Yorke. It was a great addition to the set as it proved the band had what it takes to cover a song from a very talented musician.
The songs from Ethan Kennedy were intricate and well written, two important components that attracted us to the amazing sound of the band. They will definitely be a band around Austin to look out for and we are very excited to see both bands again at live performances around town. Check out Ethan Kennedy at his Myspace page below: