Mind. Blown. I only had the opportunity to catch the last two performances at the Nekkid Armadilla unofficial SXSW showcase this year, but what I saw blew my mind. Black Market Club's lead singer, Ben Griffith, took me by surprise and had me floored. I've seen their name around but hadn't had a chance to see them live. They're a 5 piece alt-rock band I would compare to Temper Trap or Kings of Leon. It's radio ready rock music with a killer voice. I still can't believe these guys are from San Antonio. The songs were traditionally structured and used riff-based guitar work with a heavy drum component. The songs were crafted to include breaks and pre-choruses with different timing and off kilter rhythms. The songs have positive energies that fit perfectly with Griffith's voice. Black Market Club's stage presence and sound combine to make a complete package.
What do you get when you mix some one like a John Legend with something like Radiohead? You get Mobley. To call him a singer-songwriter is inaccurate, this guy is an entertainer. He had tremendous energy on stage, his voice was clear, strong and overall the performance was incredible. Multi-instrumentalist, electronic artist, singer, producer - the list goes on and on, because Mobley does it all. He would go from singing and playing a bass line on his sequencer to picking up an electric guitar to pounding on drum to making the audience laugh at the uncomfortable realities of being a performer. At one point he handed down a floor tom to the audience and handful of drum sticks to play along and join in the song. It was a ton of fun and for the second time in the same night, I was being blown away by a phenomenal voice.
Unfortunately, last night's incredible performances were not accompanied by an incredible audience. Sam's Burger Joint was sparse and those that were there, did not seem to fully appreciate what they were witnessing. Griffith of Black Market Club would hold a crystal clear note for a crescendo that burst into an alt-rock drop of guitars and drums with almost no response from the audience as if they were expecting & entitled to the greatness before them (i could expect that out of an Austin audience but not here). When Mobley took to the stage he asked everyone to stand up and to move in front of the stage, most everyone did. I spoke with organizer and founder of M.U.S.I.C. Project, Tim Slusher after the show. He expressed his frustrations with things from the local media, to uncooperative sound guys. Slusher also indicated he would be focusing more on Riff House Concerts and less on regular concert promotion following Nekkid Armadilla:
Everyone wants to play the blame game. Blame the venue for not bringing them in, blame the promoters... I lost money because, I guarantee my bands! Quality, touring, bands. A band that played Bonnaroo took the stage tonight and blew people away!
I've reached the point where I can't enjoy a show anymore because it's too much about the money. Covering costs has become too risky. Its something I love to do but I'm not going to let people dictate the outcome anymore.
I'm damn good at finding great bands! So I'm gonna keep doing that. If people wanna see them, well.. there's a great place called - Riff House Concerts.