The Evens at the Compound

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Despite a nagging head cold and having spent the day in New Braunfels at the last day of Wurstfest (a family tradition), I headed down to the Compound on East Fourth to check out The Evens for their first Austin appearance. The Evens are Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Minor Threat fame and Amy Farina. Farina plays drums and sings while MacKaye plays a Danelectro baritone guitar and sings.

I’d never been to the venue and I’m not even sure if it’s going to continue to host live music. MacKaye mentioned that someone lives on the property and the band is known for playing non-traditional rock venues like basements of libraries and churches. They played a gallery in Dallas the night before. It was essentially a yard between several corrugated metal structures. The weather was perfect, something MacKaye commented on several times.

This set list isn’t in the order played (and I may have missed some), but it’s pretty close. They played “Cut From the Cloth”, “Everybody Knows”, “Cache Is Empty”, “Eventually” and “Dinner with the President” from Get Evens. There were several songs from the first record including “Shelter Two”, “All These Governors”, “Sara Lee”, “Mt. Pleasant Isn’t”, “Blessed Not Lucky”, “On the Face of It”, and “You Won’t Feel A Thing”.

Anyone who’s familiar with MacKaye won’t be surprised that the evening was politically charged. The stripped down arrangements of the songs lent themselves to showcasing the message. MacKaye enlisted the audience to sing along during “Mt. Pleasant Isn’t” and “You Won’t Feel a Thing”. The whole event had a feel of a campfire sing-along crossed with a protest sit-in; a bit cliched perhaps, but given the current state of things, not entirely unwarranted. In introducing one song, MacKaye likened the changes in DC to periodic storms, a storm comes in, does some damage and then people clean up and rebuild. To him, the current administration is a particularly nasty storm. Perhaps the 100 or so people in attendance were looking for a respite from the storm and hopefully got what they were looking for. There’s going to be a lot of clean up work to do.

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