Communion Austin residency debut: The Eastern Sea, Bee Caves & SAFIA

Communion, an artist-led organization based in London focused on creating a sense of community among established and emerging artists across the globe, teamed up with Glitter Tribe, an Austin based event promotion and artist management company, to launch the inaugural Communion Austin residency at Historic Scoot Inn on Oct. 29.

I was greeted by confusion and surprise as I rushed into Historic Scoot Inn, expecting to enter at the end of The Eastern Sea’s opening song, but I found myself in an almost empty bar. No band on stage. No crowd eagerly awaiting. The show started later than expected that night, and the setlist ended up flipping: headliner SAFIA opened instead of Austin locals The Eastern Sea and Bee Caves. Regardless, Communion Austin was rich with energy from all artists as they each took on the tiny stage of Scoot Inn.

A Backwards Show

Ben Woolner of SAFIA
Ben Woolner | SAFIA

SAFIA, a trio of mates from Canberra, Australia, opened up Communion Austin with their electronica, indie-pop music that brings together electronic beats with Ben Woolner’s fluid and diverse vocal range. The crowd vibrated with movement and it was impossible to resist breaking out into dance as the band played on through their repetoire with popular songs like “Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues” and closer “Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds”.

Bee Caves Brings the Honey

Reed Calhoun & Sam Kearney of Bee Caves
Reed Calhoun & Sam Kearney | Bee Caves

Bee Caves is compiled with seasoned, talented musicians from various backgrounds in the industry. They’re on the rise to be one of Austin’s leading indie bands having played Austin City Limits in October. They radiate on stage, performing with such ease and notable chemistry. It was difficult not to be captured by Reed Calhoun’s stage presence with his blank gaze, hands in his pockets and dark brimmed hat. Powering through their album Animals With Religion, they closed to a crowd mouthing the words to their leading song “Running Home to You”.

After the show, Calhoun thanked us with warm sincerity for keeping up with them, adding that he feels like no one out there is listening. But we are listening, Reed and we love what we are hearing.

One of Austin Indie’s Finest: The Eastern Sea

Matt Hines of The Eastern Sea
Matt Hines | The Eastern Sea

If there’s one thing that Austin isn’t short of, it is artists. We often talk about how saturated the music scene has become and how difficult it is to gain recognition in this city if you aren’t the newest sound or an Austin relic. Among these artists are The Eastern Sea, a thriving and skillful five piece indie band lead by Matthew Hines, a St. Edward’s University alumni. Their sound of soothing indie rock and progressive pop with a steady drum line, lingering vocals, subtle tambourine and trumpet are something off of an indie movie soundtrack. Matt Hines gracefully jumped off stage with his guitar at the closing of their set, entering the center of the crowd and encouraging everyone to make a circle around him. The band is due to release a new full-length record on Nov. 13 called The Witness which zones in on music created from careful reflection of the past and looking at situations in retrospect; from outside the frame. In Eastern Sea’s own words, The Witness is “10 songs about false memory, misplaced confidence, family heirlooms, bondage, myth, Group-Think, repetitions, contradictions, dreamlessness, irrational fear and baseball.”

Communion Austin’s next show at Scoot’s Inn is on Nov. 25 featuring Highly Suspect, Austin-based BLUE HEALER and BIRD DOG. Purchase tickets here.

The Eastern Sea’s new full-length record, The Witness, is out Nov. 13. Pre-Order Now.

Catch Bee Caves at their residency, now on Wednesdays at The Continental Club.