10/30 – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson @ Emos

milesA year ago, I was wrapped up in the work of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.  His backstory of struggle and street troubadour was enchanting, equally was his music. Finally, I had the chance to catch the young man live, and I jumped at the chance to hit up this early evening show at Emos.

Opening the night was My Education, a local Austin act.  Listening to them online, I had little expectations, as they seemed a bit too mellow for my tastes.  Imagine my surprise when they weren’t nearly as slow during their live performance. Sure, they have that slow build up, much like Explosions in the Sky, and yet they follow the same pattern by ravaging the audience with walls of noise.  For me, it reminded me of the perfect soundtrack to a good round of Dungeons and Dragons with the boys.  It built up, as one creates their characters, and then it let loose a cathartic wall of well-organized madness.

Then came Miles.  I was surprised by his youth, as I expected him to be older than he was, though I blame that on his history rather than on my actual knowledge. But, with youth, comes great exuberance, something Miles definitely did not lack during his performance this evening.  He flailed about the stage, swinging his guitar to and fro.  Alas, one would have liked for his band to share in that energetic scene, though they did not seem up to it on this particular night.

Most of the set was made up of his most recent work, Summer of Fear; it was entirely made up of this, except for the closing minutes of the set, which included the spectacular “The Debtor.”  But, his new album, with songs such as “The Sound” was delightful.  His backing band brought the power that is showcased on his newer work, almost as if you were witnessing the best little bar band in America.  You could easily see where the allusions to Bruce Springsteen come into play.  Still, it left me with a conundrum.

Miles first recorded outing was intimate and heartfelt.  You grieved with the man on the microphone.  While his new album still maintains much of that spirit, the live performance went above and beyond that intimate moment between musician and listener.  I’m not sure I want to complain, as the band was great, but part of me would have performed the quiet relationship I felt I shared with Miles from my bedroom speakers.  Alas,  the night came to an end, and left me pondering, still, which man I would have liked to see more…the lonely troubadour or the rock n’ roll band.  For now, I’ll take both until I can make my mind up.

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