Written by Samuel Barker
ImageRather than spend their off day sitting in Austin amongst the chaos that is SXSW, Two Cow Garage brought their tour to Natachee’s for a special kind of show.

What made it special?

Well, instead of the face-melting rock n’ roll of a normal Two Cow Garage show, each member did a 30-minute acoustic set all by themselves. Even the drummer, David Murphy, was in on the action adding whistles, backup vocals and a verse to the set closer, In the Movies.

First up was Ryan Parker, who was on the road with Two Cow Garage, with a set of somber tunes that stretched the gamut of emotions. Quiet and reflective for the most part with a few upbeat tunes mixed in to keep it interesting.

As a former military man, Parker provided a quality insight into the view of the country and all the issues we face after he gave so much. It was a treat of a set. I had never heard Parker before, but really enjoyed his songs, his lyrics and the way his finger picking accentuated the mood of the story.

Next up was the newest member of Two Cow Garage, lead guitarist Todd Farrell, Jr.

Oh man, I was not expecting this. I had seen Farrell’s CXCW videos and knew he was a great picker with a love of Iron Maiden, all qualities I respect. However, his delivery on his personal tunes were amazing. My date for the night leaned over midway through the set and asked, with complete astonishment, “Who is this guy?”

Farrell’s lyrics were witty, the guitar work amazing and the songs ridiculously catchy. I cannot recommend his album with his band, The Dirty Birds, called All Our Heroes Live in Vans.

In the three-hole was Two Cow Garage bassist/vocalist Shane Sweeney.

Sweeney did not spend much of his set on his past releases. Legion was the only song from the Finding Time, instead, he brought out a bunch of new songs which will make up his next solo release or find their way onto the next Two Cow Garage album. We’ll just have to wait to see.

ImageThe highlight of his set for me the song, No One Asked to Be Born. Soul-baring and unafraid to redefine how we view bravery, the song asks tough questions and lays out alternatives to the ideas we have been sold for years. Also, the song, The Best Things Aren’t Things At All, brought everyone together for a bit of a sing-along after the chorus was picked up on. It even saw Murph hit the stage for some whistling.

Closing out the night was guitarist/vocalist Micah Schnabel.

Just like Sweeney, Schnabel did not use a moment of his set, outside of a single song, to showcase songs of days past, instead, he tore through the songs of his new EP, Not the Boy You Used to Know, and some upcoming Two Cow Garage songs. The only song that made its way into the set from yesteryear was American Static from his first solo release, When the Stage Lights Go Dim.

I have seen a lot of bands in my day, but no one has a delivery like Schnabel. His guitar is there to provide some highlights to the song, but it is not a rare occasion to see it abandoned to finish a lyric with an emphasis only his voice could provide.

With a constant eye for the clock winding down on the night, Schnabel squeezed in as many songs as he possibly could and kept stage banter down to a “What time is NOW?” between every few songs. It kept the set tight and the audience on the edge as the minutes wound down.

To close the set, all four members of Two Cow Garage took to the stage to play a song they had just written together, In the Movies. All 4 members took a verse and Schnabel held down the guitar duties. Each verse was a nice view into the loves and personality of the band member singing it. For such a unique performance from the band, this provided the perfect closing for the night.

That is all I have for this one, folks. Get out and support live music! Magic is happening on stages around the city, state, country and world each night. Don’t miss out!