By Samantha Oesch
Austin indie-folk band Large Brush Collection has recently returned to the Lone-Star State from a successful Midwest run. Fronted by bassist Nora Predey, Predey plays bass in an unorthodox way that almost resembles a traditional guitar. Guitarist Dan Magorrian accompanies Predey with his guitar, while Gabriela Torres serenades simultaneously to Predey with her flute. The band played an intimate tour send-off show in Predey’s backyard before they went out on the road for a sentimental Midwest tour.
The band traveled as a trio in a trusty Subaru Forester from central Texas to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to perform at Quarters’ Rock ‘N Roll Palace, then to Chicago to perform for two nights. The band finished their run in Kansas City at Mockingbird Lounge before returning home. The band had to make some lineup adjustments, but they still managed to have a rich sound.
“I think that LBC has kind of evolved into being something like a revolving door when we perform. We have really been working to make sure our songs can stand alone without drums and the second guitar, but when the situation is right, like, when we’re playing a larger venue and need drums to assist with the dynamics, we can go with the larger lineup. It’s been a concerted effort to tailor our live sound to the space we’re playing in, so we’ve been much more adaptable in that sense,” Predey said.
Although the band went on tour without a drummer due to scheduling reasons, their friend Thomas Sullivan filled in on drums for their first night in Chicago.
“He learned four songs right before we were going to go on and then played with us. It worked out really well. He did a great job. He was nervous, but I think he pulled it off very well,” Magorrian said.
Overall, the first show in Chicago won over their hearts as the group’s favorite tour date. The show took place in a local musician’s backyard. Predey finally had the chance to meet her long-distance friend, Chicago-based singer-songwriter Emily Jane Powers, after not being able to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had really been wanting to see her perform her set for a really long time. We became internet friends a couple of years ago and were supposed to meet, but then the pandemic happened,” Predey said. “The first time we met in person she was super sweet, her songs are amazing, so I was in heaven for that show in a way.”
Flutist Gabriela Torres also had a wholesome moment and felt a familiar sense of warmth in the community of new faces.
“It was really intimate and the atmosphere was really nice. It felt like we were playing for some of our closest friends and I didn’t know anybody there except for my bandmates,” Torres said.
Torres met a fellow flutist at the Chicago backyard show, who owned the house. It was a sweet surprise for both flutists.
“She [the homeowner] is also a flute player, which I didn’t know until we were done with our set and she was getting her flute out. I was like ‘oh my god, when do you see another flute player in this setting?’” Torres said.
The trio had an ongoing inside joke about how the flutist would always be approached in awe after every performance. Having a flute player in a more casual band lineup is new to some.
“In general, it’s one of the jokes on this trip. It’s been funny, but it felt really cool to watch another flute player up there and she was great,” Torres said.
The band’s second night in Chicago had picked up the pace at a DIY space called “Bookclub” with indie-punk band Gestalt from Denver, who was also on a Midwest tour, and Chicago’s own OK Cool. The show was set up last minute after a previous gig fell through due to the HOA at the venue rejecting the event application.
“We knew what the bands were going to be about, but arriving at that was a pretty interesting thing,” Predey said. “We just kind of scrambled, got on the show and it ended up being probably the biggest crowd we played to for the tour. For the most part, everything came together in a pretty good way for each of these shows. We ended up having a great time at all four of them.”
Although it felt as if a storm was brewing during the planning and booking process, the band had a successful run and made new friends along the way. Predey feels content with the turnout of it all.
“It was perfect weather pretty much the whole time we were up there, which was another thing we were worried about. You’re rolling the dice in the Midwest in September, but we got very lucky with that too,” Predey said. “I think a lot of things came together for this tour in ways that I think we got pretty lucky. There was a lot of serendipity.”
The band made it back to Austin, Texas, on Sunday, September 26th. Their next show will be for KVRX 91.7’s Local Live series on October 17th in Austin, Texas, and October 29th at Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches. Stream and follow Large Brush Collection for more updates.
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