A cold rainy night in Austin on October 19 set the backdrop for an intimate concert by the suave-electro quartet, Bob Moses. Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance are two Canadians who went to high school together in Vancouver but didn’t start making music together until they crossed paths in a NYC Lowe’s parking lot. Three full-length albums later they are selling out the majority of dates on their Battle Lines tour.
Friday night’s concert with began opener Mansionair, who put forth a casually idyllic show that offered an understated yet impactful array of emotions. The Australian ambient electro trio was a smart choice to open for Bob Moses as they set a soma-like tenor that permeated the anticipatory crowd. Songs like “Astronauts” and “Violet City” gave the crowd a gentle sway that slowly built into psyche-driven dance. The trio displayed infectious songwriting and a charismatic performance that should continue to expand their audience.
Bob Moses was welcomed to the stage by an audience that ranged from black-clad suburbanites to young funkateers. The eclectic audience indicates the wide berth of appeal the band is receiving, which is a testament to group’s compelling and uncomplicated sound. The set opened with “Heaven Only Knows” which is a darkened, almost dour, track off of the latest album with traces of deep house. In fact, most of the set, unsurprisingly, featured songs off the recently released, Battle Lines, but each song was instantly accessible – even to first time listeners.
Past hits like the moody “Talk” and “Too Much Is Never Enough” had listeners riveted and in their feelings. However, new tracks like “Back Down”, “Nothing But You” and “Eye For An Eye” that proved most alluring and represented the most substance in the set.
One curious and genius detail of the show was that the lighting during the band’s biggest hits went dark and opaque so that people posting to social media would have to film/record during their newer and least known songs – a very strategic move to getting less appreciated tracks some limelight.
Bob Moses would finish out with hits “Grace” and “Tearing Me Up”, both of which got the most visceral dance response. It is a rarity that you can show up to a concert to hear the ‘hits’ and leave genuinely excited to dive into the new catalog. Bob Moses is on a steep trajectory and everyone at Emos on Friday is privileged to bear witness to the ascent of a very special band.