Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 5, 2013
Lest anyone get it twisted and begin to think of Max Frost as Austin’s answer to Mayer Hawthorne or Robin Thicke, the young Austinite kicked into his ACL Fest set with a blast of rock that was more White Stripes than "White Lies" his soulful Internet hit that’s slowly seeping into mainstream radio. And he did it well, he’s totally credible as a rocker, but as the set progressed it became clear that it’s the breadth of his vision that sets him apart from many of our city’s guitar toting upstarts.
Sure he can rock, but he also has the sensitivity of a soul musician. With one foot in D’Angelo’s world and the other in Jack White’s he’s well placed to inhabit the deep pocket grooves of either. When his band drops into a jazzy soundbed he stretches his smooth croon and drops velvet toned guitar solos that are more about melodic effect than technical gymnastics. When they rock he can go hard, without losing the spaciousness of the grooves.
With a freshly inked Atlantic deal and new EP out this week, most of the audience wasn’t familiar with his material but that didn’t stop a respectable crowd from planting itself in the midday sun for his entire set. By the time he capped his set with "White Lies" the audience was happy to sing along. It felt like a very solid start for a young artist who has nothing but room to grow.