Austin Hays at the Brolo 6.24

When Austin called me Thursday morning to ask if I would come see him play at Project Lodge that night, a very different picture came to mind than the reality that would play itself  out later that evening. The connotations that come with relatively unknown bands playing on week nights at the Project Lodge stem from my first experience there, seeing Julian Lynch open for a west-coast psych-pop band whose name I don’t recall. I was one of the five audience members, sitting cross legged on the floor watching Julian play his clarinet.  This paradigm of the usual Prolo crowd became more solidified as I attended more shows there, and when I arrived that night I thought it would be more of the same. Austin and I arrived  to a crowd of one or two people besides the band he was opening for. We hung out for a bit and chatted with the few others there as a couple more people trickled in. All of a sudden a flood of young men and women poured in through the front door, twenty or more by my count and bearing multiple coolers filled with keystone light. This was the last crowd I expected to take over the small gallery, but they seemed to take to the venue well, mingling with the regulars and admiring the art on the walls. As Austin and I sat speculating as to when he should begin, I half-jokingly suggested he played from where he was sitting on the floor. This half-baked idea began to take shape as the proprietor of the lodge, Andrew Berry, yelled out that the show was starting and Austin looked up from tuning his guitar to tell everyone to have a seat on the floor. The crowd obliged, and Austin’s set seemed to go over quite well with an audience of fresh ears.

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