Marah in the Mainsails’ sound almost bursts The Icehouse


Marah in the Mainsail reminds me of a college flame. A wild, dangerous and a bit crazy creature with incredible chemistry the moment I am in the same room with them. Sure, I am married with kids (other bands) and sometimes I see pictures of them on Facebook. But put them live in front of me and BAM! I’m head over heels again. That was the case Friday Night when I saw them at the Icehouse. Record Label Last Triumph started their 7th yearly “The Take Off Tour” where they send a couple of bands on a journey to play their way to Austin’s SXSW.

Starting the evening were Good Morning Bedlam, a folk quartet. Well, it’s folk with influences from many music styles with Jazz and Gospel being quite noticeable in a couple of their songs. There’s pop music as well. I was not expecting that cover of “All About That Bass”.
Three of their members take turns on lead vocals through songs, making for a distinct sound. Good Morning Bedlam introduced a song new enough that they had not agreed on a title yet “Just For Ships And Giggles” seemed to be the front runner. They closed their set with the bluegrass / hoedown style “Out In The Breeze” that left the audience clapping and stomping
Set List: Dancing Foot / The Devil’s Waltz / All About That Bass / The Zoo / St. James / I Won’t / Ship Song / Out In The Breeze

Anyone not familiar with Marah in the Mainsail got a hint of what was to come when 100 lbs of heavy iron chain was dragged on stage to serve as a percussion tool. They describe themselves as cinematic and to clarify it’s not an artsy French movie where nothing happens for an hour and then someone smokes a cigarette. Think big classic, almost biblical….
The band recently underwent a lineup change with Mariah Mercedes joining on keys replacing Cassandra Valentime and her accordion. I am happy to report she fits in very well.
I had seen Marah before at Mill City Nights and on a larger outdoor stage. That did not prepare me for the raw power that filled the much smaller Icehouse. Durry’s distinct voice took over every inch of the building. The percussion seemed to shake the foundation, and the trombone blasts were like gut punches. Most of the standing audience was dancing, and some of the tables were in danger of having their glasses shoved off and used for a table dance.
The sound was deep and multi layered with many interesting details. When Marah in the Mainsail closed with “Traveling Man” I was left with one thought: Austin, I hope you are ready. Something Awesome This Way Comes……..
Set List: The Beginning / Foxhole-Fisticuffs-Your Ghost / Wendigo / Bone Crown / See No Evil / Graveyard / Ember / The Great Beyond / Everybody Knows / Black Mamba / Northern Born / Traveling Man


1 Comment

  1. Markus – one small correction: Good Morning Bedlam was doing a little play on words with the yet-untitled song. The guitarist said “Just For ShiPs and Giggles” since the song was about ships and oceans.

    Overall a great show. I have seen Marah in the Mainsail several times and always enjoy them. Minneapolis used to have a Christian club called 3 Degrees in the venue now known as Mill City; Marah in the Mainsail won the final annual Battle of the Bands.

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