I deeply enjoyed Riley Jantzen's previous project Mayola, so I was thrilled when I lucked into seeing him at Opolis indoor. I had planned on seeing him at Brewhouse the next day, but more Riley Jantzen is never bad. He played some vaguely country-tinged tunes that could have easily included clapping and stomping, and assured us they weren't the same song he'd be playing with his band The Spirits. Old Mayola tunes also got some love, and the crowd responded emphatically to those. Jantzen's excellent voice and superb songwriting skills make any project he's in worth checking out.
Through a bit of confusion, I ended up seeing Locust Avenue on the Opolis outdoor stage when I was trying to see The Burning Hotels. Their straightforward rock'n'roll had a ton of crowd support, and the band was really, really getting into it. They know their stuff, and it showed even as they were putting up with grit flying in their face from the wind that picked up.
Back inside, Travis Linville's finger-picked country tunes were quite impressive. Linville plays with a confidence that comes of having been doing this a long, long time; the outward swagger has evaporated, but the assured musicianship makes his prowess as clear as if he were sticking out his chest and strutting. The whole set just felt right, as if both Linville and the audience were in their element. His set was definitely a highlight of the festival for me.
Stepping back out the door, Austin's White Denim set up their indie-fied Dragonforce for an uber-enthusiastic crowd. Seriously, White Denim has chops,
and their set was one big guitarfest. Even the bassist was playing complicated, intense bass lines. This whole O-prog movement is picking up steam, y'all. White Denim's delirious prog songs definitely fall in the category. It was a wonder to behold, and the crowd hollered for more; the band pointed out that they would be back two times in the next six weeks to wow them again. This almost satiated the calls for one more song.