Listen while you read: Mobley on Spotify
Full photo album at the bottom
THERE'S HISTORY HERE. When I moved to Austin in January of 2010, I went to see my first live show at a place downtown called Club Deville (now Cheer Up Charlies). Mobley was playing that night. I don't remember much, only that he had a bunch of TV screens on stage with him with various graphics, and that it was a great show.
I was also excited to be a grown up, living in a city where I didn't have any family, only a few friends, and I was finally making it on my own. Going out that night was the beginning of my relationship with live music in Austin, and in a way, the beginning of my adulthood.
Years later, we ended up on the same bill at Holy Mountain (also something else now). We talked shop (music, video, photography) and exchanged contact information, hoping to collaborate in the future. After that, Mobley and MCG linked up for our album release party, and we'll be playing again together at Mohawk on November 18.
All this time, I've watched this guy grow as a musician, stage performer, music producer, and marketing tour de force. He's someone I look to for inspiration on what to do next.
In this business, I've learned it's good to surround yourself with people who are a step or two ahead of you.
Now, he's arguably the best live act in Austin, playing multiple instruments, dancing to his self-designed light show, and engaging the crowd from start to finish.
Mobley has a new album out called Some Other Country. He produced the whole thing and played every instrument on it. There's a statement in these songs as well. I'll let him explain from his interview with Afropunk Magazine:
"The goal in making “Swoon” was to capture the feelings of anxiety, isolation, and suffocation that are, for too many, a part of the experience of being a black person in this country. Like a lot of people, I was stunned by the murder of Eric Garner, but what terrified and spurred me to action was the overwhelming, collective sigh of indifference with which it was greeted by a large portion of the country. In the making of the music and the video, Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe”, were never far from my mind."
No one gets an invitation to change or relive the past. Club Deville is gone. Holy Mountain is gone. Tragically, the people represented by the names on his shirt are not with us anymore either.
Where does that leave Mobley? With an invitation to the future.
I'm grateful for artists like him who are willing to make a statement with their music, incorporating elements of the past that shouldn't be forgotten, while charging forward to make a future for themselves, that always seems to be a step ahead of those around them.
All photos by Andrew Bennett Photography, Austin based music photographer