Molybden and Co. at the Sahara Lounge: Live Review

molybden -1“I saw a UFO in San Francisco. It didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would. I guess I’m stronger than I imagined,” were the words Tess Seipp, better known as Molybden, spoke this quiet Sunday night in Austin, TX, down Webberville Rd. at the Sahara Lounge.

Delicately approaching the stage, Molybden hoists her parlor guitar’s strap over her shoulder and looks at the intimate audience, politely sitting in chairs that have been appropriately arranged in church-like organization. A row through the middle leads directly to the small Saharan stage. Molybden looks down that empty lane longingly, as if the transition from life on the road to back home has yet to sink in. molybden -2As it shouldn’t! This is her homecoming show, so she’s technically still on tour. And as such, she gives us a hauntingly precious set that makes those in attendance wary to interrupt with applause when she drifts out of a song. It seems more natural to call her pieces gentle, plaintive folk dreams, rather than songs, as her voices cracks under the rainbow of Christmas lights, neon beer signs, and spinning DJ lightballs that scatter the Sahara Lounge’s ceiling. We catch her offering of chance words and phrases that sneak through the haze, unfolding dreams bit by bit, and we almost remember the dream we woke from this morning and then it falls through our ears and back into the swirling alien lights. Maybe we’re creating moments of déjà vu to revisit in the future.

caitlin kraus torres -3Caitlin Kraus-Torres sings second, her small frame challenging the bravado with which she sings. Newer material shows growth and maturity, both lyrically and in the arrangements, and her fingerpicking numbers are especially strong, giving the casual strumming a chance to balance with more delicate presentation.

devin james fry -1-2Devin James Fry’s airy vocals are delivered on the ground floor. He chooses to set up his microphone in front of the stage with enough room to sway back and forth and pulse with an intense gaze that locks onto one audience member at a time, singing directly for a few moments heightening the connection between you and Fry. He throws in a yelp, a yodel, and a holler when the spirit catches up to him and I can hear them echoing across the hollers’ expanses, jumping from mountaintop to mountaintop. Where Molybden occupies the mossy undergrowth, peeking out when the moon rises, Fry is the sun, powered by bees and delivering his honey to our ears. He sings, “My home in Colorado, where the Arkansas begins,” declaring his return home the following day, casually picking his decades-old Gibson parlor guitar that has its own lion’s share of stories to sing for similar evenings in similar times. In moments, Fry abandons that microphone and yelps ahead of his body. In his darkest, I hear Nick Cave’s spirit being summoned for earthly inspiration, speak-singing and shouting with intensity.

devin james fry -4-2The Sahara gives the listener the unique opportunity to sit outside on the patio and steal a moment to yourself and still be present in the experience. Even if you can’t see what’s happening, you can hear it and use yer goddamn imagination, creating an atypical experience of the show, giving more agency to the audience member than your common bar show. Fry’s last number is a “talking blues” number that most ole’ folk singers have in their back pockets somewhere. This one is about bees and Texas; a typical Sunday night in Austin.

All photographs © Lukas R. Truckenbrod & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open set in slideshow viewer.

Pop Press International © 2018 All Rights Reserved

All photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress