In Uptown, or as I like to call it “Millennial Dallas,” lies a great eatery and casual concert site. Hip gyms and posh boutiques surround the Rustic’s sizable outdoor venue, and in celebration of their 20th birthday bash, they had a fantastic lineup.
Last Wednesday night started strong with Austin native Mobley and his unique style of Post-genre pop. The music is fresh and modern with songs building up textures layer by layer — tunes also highlighted by the multi-media aspect that provided exciting visuals. With seamless transitions and creative sounds, it is evident the amount of thought and care that goes into every feature. The one-man multi-instrumentalist was even innovative in involving the audience; he started by saying he needed four members to help with his invention.Using a bunch of wires and technology that I won’t claim to understand, he turned their raised hands into a drum machine for an entire track, “Stay Volk”! It looked a little tiring, but the volunteers were jamming along and happy to be apart of the show. Even with the songs being dependent on loops and samples, Mobley’s charismatic energy and constant movement across the platform made his performance anything but stale.
Next to take the stage was Briston Maroney and his band of boys, Jack and Noah, with luscious long locks. Hailing from Tennesee, Maroney is reviving the rockin’ grunge of Nashville’s house party scene. It was hard to get pictures because of their near-constant movement and dynamic hair. They seriously went ham with only a couple of slower tracks to break up the raging dance party. The tunes “Freakin’ Out On the Interstate” and “Under My Skin” were a perfect blend of the good old, risky days of youth, and teen angst. Maroney has grown up since his time spent on American Idol, and I look forward to listening to his current and future projects.
At this point, the scene is not only warmed up, but was set on freaking fire, and the crown is bristling with anticipation for the third and final act. The stage feels barren without all of Mobley’s fancy gear, but that is quickly remedied by Cold War Kids strutting out. Nathan Willet sang and played his heart out- backed by the superb musicians’ bassist Matt Maust, guitarist David Quon, keyboardist Matthew Schwartz, and drummer Joe Plummer that are all middle-aged men. Although, it does makes sense considering they were probably kids during the Cold War. They started with the well-known hits “Love is Mystical,” “Miracle Mile,” and my personal favorites “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “So Tied Up.” They also teased their future album New Age Norms with a couple of tracks that flowed seamlessly into their older works.
The band had very few talking breaks, but Quon made sure to shoutout the little girl with a white bow who couldn’t have been older than six. During the track “Restless,” Willet fought through the crowd to sing up close with her, and luckily the microphone cable was long enough (didn’t trip anyone either). I hope she’s old enough to remember what a remarkable experience she had for what was likely her first concert. His passionate and soulful voice made the somewhat large venue feel like a close and intimate adventure. Cold War Kids’ most popular track, “First,” provided a wonderful ending to the Rustic’s big birthday bash.
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