OV Recommends: Three Mohawk openers you don’t want to miss

Many times music fans buy tickets to see their favorite headlining artists, overlooking the opening acts, sometimes even going as far as to arrive late so that they don’t have to sit through it. But just because it’s done, doesn’t mean it should be. Often times these types of fans miss out on some great performances because of those bad habits. Here is a list of some really great artists who will be performing at The Mohawk this year that are openers now but will one day soon be the headliner.

White Reaper

Opening up for Car Seat Headrest on Oct. 12th at The Mohawk here in Austin is the Louisville, Kentucky based band, White Reaper. They are a garage punk band formed by singer/guitarist Tony Esposito and twin brothers Nick Wilkerson, drummer, and Sam Wilkerson, bassist. The trio formed as teenagers and experimented with their sound to create their first single in 2013, “Conspirator”/“The Cut.” Soon after in June 2014 the band caught the attention and were signed by young Polyvinyl Records, who describe themselves as a company that focuses on the “burgeoning Midwest underground music scene,” where they later released their self-titled six song EP, White Reaper. Esposito says that “Polyvinyl has always let (them) have full control of (their) creative output” and that they’ve becoming better musicians and have developed their sound since their inception.

This year they launched their newest album, The World’s Best American Band, which is evocative of a more classic and bold rock-n-roll record. The album name is not only that but the bands personal credo, they believe that if you say it, then so it will be. Overall the band maintains a positive outlook for their music saying, “looking forward, there are plenty of records and touring to come. There’s no end in sight at the moment.” You can find White Reaper not only at The Mohawk but also at the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival this year which means October is going to be the month to hit up their shows and drown yourself in some good old, “moshing” punk rock.

Levi the Poet

Levi Macallister. Everyone should know who this artist is. Levi the Poet, Macallister’s stage name, is an American Christian musician and spoken word artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico whose rough and raw voice melds and weaves words together and rips the emotions out of you like the saddest song you’ve ever heard. He debuted in Oct. 2009 with his independent release, Werewolves, but his first EP, Monologues, wasn’t released until 2011 by Come&Live! records.

In his recordings Macallister intends to share a story. He isn’t afraid to bring up big and sensitive topics that everyone can connect to: family, mental illness, love, God, politics, oppression, perfect worlds, and just plain pain. In his release, The Great American Game, he takes on many of those painful topics that people are going through today with a rare elegance and puts to words long pain and suffering that few can describe. To be transported into his painful and beautiful world, you can see him on the 28th of October at The Mohawk alongside Comrades and Everett, all opening for Listener.

Brandy Zdan

An artist who has been around the block with the experience and talent to match, Brandy Zdan, has played music all her life but until recently, has never been the focus of it. This native Canadian–now living in Nashville, TN–has been involved in music since she could speak and says she has been writing songs since she was a teen but it was once she started performing that she just knew that that’s what she would always want to do.

For ten years before going solo, Zdan was a part of the Canadian group The Trisha’s and used that time “to figure out what (her) sound was and how (she) wanted to go about making (her) first solo record.” Although the stint with The Trisha’s took up many years, she believes that being older in the industry has its advantages. In her experience, many “young artists go in with an attitude and when you have experience you know things- but not everything.” Not only does she have a better attitude than many young artists just starting out but her experiences have given her a long list of contacts to help her “create the vision” that she has for her music.

Although these people are important, her first album, Brandy Zdan, was written entirely herself which is not only a cool fact but extremely rare nowadays. Her self-titled album is an indie-rock and pop record that has many tracks like Back to You and More of a Man that could very easily sit beside current hits on the radio because of their undeniable “playability.” You can catch Brandy and her playable songs on September 2nd at The Mohawk when she opens up for American blues guitarist, Tab Benoit, whose fans she hopes to “win over.” This is a good time for fans of all artists to start taking note as Zdan promises a “more honed and focused” album in 2018 that is sure to interest even the most critical listener.


Featured image courtesy of The Mohawk’s twitter, @mohawkaustin.

Video courtesy of Levi the Poet’s YouTube Channel