Last Night: Bowerbirds at Hailey's Club

Bowerbirds and Megafaun Hailey's Club August 12, 2009

Better than: Watching a performance on La Blogotheque

Some days the life of a touring musician is just a bitch, especially when you are in that stage of your career that you are traveling in a van. Yesterday was one such day for Megafaun and Bowerbirds, who drove the 13 hours from White Sands, N.M., to Denton to appear before a small, enthusiastic audience at Hailey's. Despite the light attendance both bands played wonderful sets that intimately engaged the crowd.

Megafaun is a trio -- joined by the violinist from the Bowerbirds -- who might be described as post-rock meets bluegrass. At times combining three part harmonies, white noise and acoustic stringed instruments (banjo, bass, and guitar, fiddle), they made raucous, sweet music. To the crowd's delight, in the middle of the second song the band abandoned the stage for the middle of the audience to sing and play. This was repeated for the set closer when the three members moved to the floor at the stage's edge for a beautiful unplugged finish.

Bowerbirds' music is lyrically rich, delivered by the lovely voices of duo Phil Moore and Beth Tacular. The songs have been arranged to generally include Beth on electric piano or accordian, Phil on a classical guitar and Mark Paulson on a spare drum kit and Megafuan's Brad Cook on standup bass. Phil delivered his lyrics with a clear, affecting voice with Beth harmonizing.

As Megafuan had done before them, Bowerbirds closed the set with an unplugged (off the grid?) version of The Ticonderoga, in the middle of the audience, and with a surprising number of the audience singing along.

As the crowd filtered out at 1:00 in the morning it seemed Wednesday might have been a bitch, Thursday was looking up for these bands.

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