On any given Friday night, you’ll find the city of Austin brimming with a variety of great live music. Within the array, sometimes you’ll get to experience something that is truly unique. And, when the stars align, it can be transcendent. Those that are wise to the power of prog were treated to such an event on Friday night. A throng of fans joined four of Austin’s most interesting bands at the Lazy Lizard for a night of camaraderie, fun, and mind-bendingly awesome music.
Are the rumors true?
Can I really have my funk and classical too?
Indeed, this is a confirmed fact.
Black Ladder provides the proof. The evening began with the power trio combining classical melodies with funk hooks and hard rock riffs to elevate minds everywhere. Band members Shane Lamb (keyboard), Clarence Riley IV (Bass), and Ray Cardenas (drums) delighted the crowd with their awe-inspiring arrangements.
Such is the title and thematic premise of the latest offering from the Aaron Clift Experiment, and fans were treated to selections from the album at last night’s show. As crowd members welcomed “Kissed by the Sun” with a bellow of “PLAY THE LONG VERSION!” the band did not disappoint. The musicality of the entire group is notable, with talent on overdrive from Clift himself on vox and keyboards, as well as the jaw-dropping musical gifts of Eric Guttierez on guitar, Joe Resnick on drums, and Devin North on bass.
The revelry continued with a set from alt-prog titans Another de Sade. Not since Gregor Samsa has shape-shifting been this much fun. This quartet moved deftly through multiple musical genres within a single song (within a single verse!) and the crowd rocked along. From the gothic glory of “Echino” to the prog-brilliance of “False Summit,” band members Mark Schroth, Kibler Hufstedler, Mance Fine, and Greg Haberek channeled their inner Lokis. And the crowd was pleased.
Me being a rookie to the Muppletone sound, such was the promise given to me by a fellow crowd member just as the group began their set. And it was not just a treat – it was a smorgasbord of sound and fury, signifying everything. If you can imagine yourself kayaking down a river of fire and alligators in a boat carved from the sounds of a thousand feed-backed violins, you might have a small sense of the power wrought by Muppletone’s Aaryn M. Russell, James Shepherd, Phil Davidson, Mike Ded, and Josh Robbins. It was a great way to cap an incredible event.