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To SXSW and Back: Rockin’ the comedy club

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Rusty Maples
Corlene Byrd
Max Plenke

Las Vegas band Rusty Maples is touring its way toward Austin, where official showcases at this year's South by Southwest festival await. Drummer Max Plenke, a journalist who frequently contributes music content for the Weekly, checks in with a series of reports from the road.

Day 6-7: Esther’s Follies and Life Is Beautiful Before playing the Life Is Beautiful/Caesars Entertainment showcase with a bill full of Vegas bands, and before the Wednesday night calamity on Red River Street, we played our official SXSW Music showcase at the comedy club Esther’s Follies, a room daunting in its arrangement: all seating, theater-style, with no room to dance up front.

At first we were on edge in front of an audience that looked ready to hear a TED Talk—highly attentive, anticipatory, judgy. They were everything but. Dancing, standing on chairs, hootin’ and wild-cattin’ and egging us on to play louder, to play harder, to tear the place apart.

When Blair asked the crowd where they were from, we realized why: At least half of the audience was from Las Vegas. We played harder than we had all tour.

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  • The singer-songwriter performs at Caesars' Colosseum January 13 and 14.

  • The record, out physically this week, finds the two men once again expertly meshing their styles.

  • Harsh textures are (mostly) eschewed for languid synth-pop, an ambient glaze and gentle individual elements.

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