Photography & Story by Kail Rose
On a chilly Thursday evening, Scoot Inn played host to an indie rock pairing of epic proportions. Selling out the intimate outdoor venue, Wilderado and Mt. Joy brought their unique, upbeat indie flavors to an adoring crowd for an all-too-short evening of great live music.
Wilderado kickstarts the night with a laid-back set, beer-in-hand. Infamously once called ‘Bird Dog,’ the indie folk band hails from Tulsa, OK and has released three EPs (four if you count the acoustic version of 2018’s Favors). They are the epitome of what Austin loves best; solid music, a mellow indie vibe, and quirky unassuming personality. Their merch says it all, really. I take a quick spin past a table offering mildly distressed pastel tees, leather-encased lighters, beer koozies, earth-tone hats and vinyl encased in muted psychedelic patterns. This is indie folk rock at it’s best.
The set opens with metered, groovy energy. Wilderado’s brand of folk rock boasts nothing over the top. Their performance is deliciously subdued, uplifted by pretty vocals - soaring at times, others in perfect raspy harmony. It’s pleasant indie rock that pairs perfectly with your craft beer. This isn’t a band that needs to be big. It’s groovy, fun, stoically upbeat and thoroughly enjoyable.
It’s a short set -just 45 minutes- allowing the many 30-somethings with painstakingly groomed mustaches, trucker hats and faux vintage leather everything some time to purchase another Deep Eddy & soda for the petite blonde in baggy boyfriend jeans, a messy ponytail, deceptively pricey boots and an over-sized sweater. I wonder if she’s overheating (it’s really not that cold) as I eavesdrop on a trendy Hipster nouveau trio slamming the venue for being sold out of their favorite White Claw flavor. Several man buns bumble past in a skunky haze that is most certainly not cigarette smoke. A lanky girl clad in a tie-dye dress and pirate-esque dreads sways next to the Mission Dogs food cart, giggling; “hehe! It smells like hotdogs!” Austin certainly boasts a unique crowd. It's a guilty pleasure to sit and people-watch in between sets.
Mt. Joy are up next; the colorful, joyously upbeat indie-meets-psych-rock quintet always brings a great show and tonight is no exception. Hailing from Los Angeles, they debuted single Astrovan in 2016 and gently exploded into the contemporary music scene. They haven’t looked back, hitting major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza in the last two years. It’s a deserved victory. Their set features a tidal wave of upbeat hits interspersed with newer material. Notably of their upcoming album release, of which single Rearrange Us was released the day prior. Spoiler: it’s groovy, melancholic and excellent. With neighborhood restrictions on the venue, it’s an all-to-early finish, but we leave pleasantly uplifted. The front row is clearly exhausted from exuberant fangirling, while the rest of us silently wish we could do it all over again. There’s a reason Mt Joy is selling out in cities across the US. With a sound that could fill an arena, it’s a treat to catch them in an intimate local Austin venue.