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ACL Fest review: My Jerusalem

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By John T. Davis

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 12, 2013

After a frothy, bluegrass-flavored set by Whiskey Shivers, a sort of sonic appetizer, the slashing guitars, rolling thunder drums and well-deep baritone of frontman Jeff Klein seemed to announce that the Austin Ventures stage, as of noon on Saturday, was officially open for business.

Klein and his three bandmates drew from their latest album, “Pilgrims,” for the bulk of their 40-minute set. The title track punched harder than its recorded counterpoint, a counterpoint to the floating falsetto embellishments over the vocals. Likewise, the singalong-friendly “Mono” with its (no pun intended) infectious chorus worked in striking counterpoint to the rolling drumline and slashing guitars of (I think) “Death Valley.”

Jon Merz was the proverbial one-man band during the ear-catching rocker “Oh Little Sister” as he alternated between keyboards, guitar and trombone. But it was hard to upstage Klein, a riveting vocalist and commanding guitarist.

And for that best-of-both-worlds vibe, it was hard to beat the Barton Springs Beer Hall, where football fans could enjoy My Jerusalem’s set while watching U.T. open a first-half can of whup-ass on O.U. If that’s not the quintessential Texas music festival experience, I don’t know what is.