Motherfolk @ Empire Control Room & Garage – Austin, TX


Empire Control Room & Garage– Austin, TX

September 8, 2021

Photos and Review by John Feinberg

The boys from Cincinnati snuck quietly into Austin with a small crowd on a Wednesday night. But that’s not a bad thing by any means. Their show was a proper Austin show; fans who know and love them knew exactly when and where they’d be, even after the Austin stop was added quite late into their current tour. This smaller crowd, along with the cozy show floor of Empire Control Room gave the show a feel of almost a “VIP experience” with the guys. Their music didn’t need to be blasted to large crowds like at other, outdoor venues. They were inside the comfort of air conditioning compared to the (still) sweltering evening Texas heat. And most importantly, they felt relaxed.
For those who may not know the group, Motherfolk started around late 2012 from a group of college friends; Bobby Paver (guitar+vocals), Nathan Dickerson (guitar+vocals) are still in the band from the inception, with Ethan Wescott (drums) and Clayton Allender (bass) joining later on in the band’s life. To give a good sense of the level of folk and sound of the band, give their most-listened song, Kill the Sun. They’re a faster-paced, less-banjo, slightly more rock-base version of CAAMP, if such a thing existed. They’re folk, but not stomp-and-holler nor do they rely on horns or any acoustic strings to have them pretend as if they’ve bottled organic beet juice out of an old barn to market themselves as the folk band to listen to.
You’ll still find some of their songs, such as Salt Lake City lean more towards their folk roots; acoustic guitar and vocals lead the song throughout. But, that’s from their self-entitled album from 2014. Focus on some of their newer songs from their 2019 album, Family Ghost. You’ll find they’ve really developed their true, unique voice and talent. The band played another fan-favorite during their show, More Than You Know, which tends to focus on a more upbeat note, rhythm and tone. It’s the kind of song where you must bob your head, clap or tap your foot; it gets you moving and smiling.
On one last note of their 2019 album songs from the show, you’ll find that these songs in the tour have the most emphasis on effects from both unplayed/non-live synths and a heavier focus on guitar effects not nearly as present on their older stuff. It seems they’ve been moving towards more indie rock while their vocals still give you a hint and a nod of their folk roots. They’re truly developing a unique still compared to previous work, and with latest single, head above water, released recently, they seem to be understanding their direction and style more and more. A full, new album is bound to be a complete 180 from their initial releases, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. Neither is a small group of fans on a Wednesday night in a bar venue. Try to grab a show while they’re still on the last legs of this tour. I foresee them coming to some more notoriety on the next album release. Get them before they’re hot.


Photographer based in Austin, TX.