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At Free Energy’s Beauty Bar show, hipsters didn’t really have—well, energy

For a band that has toured with Titus Andronicus and Weezer, Free Energy had it rough when it played Beauty Bar’s “Road to SXSW” showcase last week.

The bar was unusually empty for a Thursday night, with a couple dozen folks lingering for opening tourmates Religious Girls, whose top-notch drummer had the crowd chatting about the surprisingly compelling set well after the band left the stage.

But oh, poor Free Energy—what was its bombastic pop-rock doing on Beauty Bar’s tiny indoor stage? The band looks like Pavement and sounds like the best classic-rock karaoke jam ever, a combination better enjoyed on an outdoor stage with a big crowd and lots of beer.

Instead, the evening’s crowd of cock-browed hipsters, unprepared for Free Energy’s enthusiasm, peeled away after a few songs, leaving no more than 10 people in the bar by the end of the 35-minute set.

Only a core group of fans stayed dancing by the stage. But oh, how we danced.

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