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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

Black Country, New Road Delights at First Headline Performance in Austin

Black+Country%2C+New+Road+Delights+at+First+Headline+Performance+in+Austin
Image by @colerameeez on Instagram

Hundreds of people packed into Mohawk Monday night, swaying to the harmonies of the keyboard and saxophone and bobbing their heads to the rhythms of the drums and bass guitar. Black Country, New Road, an almost genre-less group, combining elements of jazz, post punk, and pop performed in Texas as a headliner for the first time and hopefully not the last. 

While there was a weather delay in the show, pushing the show back nearly an hour past when it was to begin, the wait was worth it, with the band giving an unforgettable performance, sounding clearer than ever heard in recordings. 

The small stage of Mohawk didn’t hold back from the presence of co-lead vocalist May Kershaw, beginning with a goosebumps-causing performance of an unreleased song called “Cold Country” and then straight into “The Boy.” Kershaw’s voice, along with her keyboard and accordion, highlighted the difference in tone from the group’s first two albums after former lead vocalist, Isaac Wood, announced his departure, the band switching from a darker, grittier sound into a lighter and melodramatic one. 

The stark contrast in energy from the transition from the emotional “Turbines/Pigs,” a song on the feeling of unworthiness into “Dancers,” a more theatrical expression of realizing one isn’t better than someone else, had audience members floored with emotion. 

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While the floor seats closer to the stage allowed for most to see the emotion on the faces of the band members, the upstairs seating arrangements allowed for a more personal connection to the music itself, listening in while the quiet ambience of the city contrasted with the loud, emotive performance. 

The band continued to keep audience members on the edge of their seats with even more new material. This allowed them to get a preview of the direction the band is taking. While their last album “Live at Bush Hall,” felt somewhat insecure in its sound, alternating vocalists with no sense of reasoning, they have really come into their own with their sound, allowing for lead vocalists May Kershaw and Tyler Hyde to thrive in their positions with a more structured alternation of vocalists.

While the songwriting doesn’t rival that of Wood’s while he was in the band, the sound and departure from angst is a warm welcome as the band grows and changes. As the band continues to evolve, fans don’t have to question what’s next, as they retain the heart they’ve always had, and mix the old with the new to forge ahead.

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About the Contributor
Nikolas Russell
Nikolas Russell, Life & Arts Editor
I am Nikolas Russell and this is my second year on the Trailblazer staff. I work as a reporter and the Life & Arts editor for the 2023-2024 school year. I have attended UIL for feature writing once and made regional. When I'm outside of school, I am either working my job at Whataburger or working out at the YMCA. I'm looking forward to a great year of newspaper!
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