No matter how many or few shows you get to see music fans know the real thing when they see it, and that’s how I felt the first time I experienced Marah in the Mainsail in person a couple of years ago. Seeing them a couple of times since then only confirmed my opinion, and their show at the Icehouse last spring remains burned in my memory. Since then they have been hard at work on a new, crowd-funded album “Bone Crown” that was release last week and I was looking forward to their release show at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall.
Getting there required navigating through a closed 35W, a sea of cowboy hats (Chris Stapleton at the Xcel) and an outdoor music event, so I got there a bit later than planned and missed all but the end of Good Morning Bedlam’s set. The 2 songs I saw were enjoyable and judging by the crowd’s reaction the band delivered a kick ass set.
Punk/Grunge Trio Pierre was up next delivering an energy filled short set. The band is composed of Alex Dunn, Lucas Margulies, and Kevan Larson There was a good bit of banter between them and the audience, and their music was straight forward and perfect for any fan of the genre.
Marah in the Mainsail took the stage around 1030 starting with a spoken word intro and band members wearing masks on stage. Singer Austin Durry explained that they would be playing their new record front to back the way it was meant to be experienced as a conceptual album. It tells the story of a Fox who as king of the forest wears a crown of bone (hence the album name).
Many of the songs are text book Marah in the Mainsail cinematic style. They are dramatic, big, the trombone prominent, and percussion adding texture (for lack of a better word). But then there some songs that, as Durry put it, are a complete 180. “Brave Little Buck” was playful, like music you would hear on an old style radio in the video game Fallout. Mariah Mercedes’ voice floating. Oh and they made the audience whistle along to the chorus.
Experiencing an album such as “Bone Crown” live, the way it was intended was great. Once again I left a MitM show smiling, having experienced something unique. I may sound a bit fanboy, but I have seen so many generic, interchangeable bands that I want to share last night’s experience with as many people as possible.