Yesterday at NX35: Matthew and the Arrogant Sea at Hailey's

BAND: Matthew and the Arrogant Sea
VENUE: Hailey's Club
TIME: 9:50ish p.m.

By the time I got to Hailey's, two songs into Matthew and the Arrogant Sea's 11-song set, the venue was teeming with people.

Somewhere around 250 people were packed into the main room watching the show, and, for the rest of the set, Hailey's was elbow-to-elbow.

Not much of a surprise that MATAS' set was magical, energetic, entertaining and, yeah, I'll say it, beautiful. Midlake's Eric Pulido joined the band onstage to help add some vocal harmonies on "Mock Origami." And, near the end of the set, for "The Wizard," the audience was singing, clapping and going crazy.

"I need you to clap, we need the energy," frontman Matthew Gray asked of the crowd on more than one occasion throughout the night--and every time the room responded in kind.

I'm not sure who started it, but, last night, there was some kind of synergistic relationship forged between the band and audience. It really did seem that Gray, the band and the crowd were feeding off each others energy.

And, then there was "Snake!"

MATAS' saved its most intense song for last. The borderline scream-o gem killed. It was a great way to end the band's set... and a great way to warm-up for SXSW...