The massive pride of Harley Davidsons roaring through downtown Austin could be heard for miles when the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally ascended upon the Capital Friday night. As spectators lined the banks of Congress Ave. to experience the largest turnstile biker rally in the US, a much more intimate evening was unfolding inside The Townsend.
A calm and relaxed David Messier was celebrating his 39th birthday bash with a few of his closest friends at Austin’s premier cocktail bar and performance venue. The musical renaissance man had plenty to celebrate on this particular birthday as just 24 hours earlier, Mayor Steve Adler had declared June 8th David Messier Day. Frosty pint in hand, the singer-songwriter mingled amongst the crowd before his show, half-jokingly admitting, ‘If I had realized it was ROT Rally weekend, I may have charged a little more for these tickets.”
Messier allowed the sold-out crowd a few extra minutes to battle the parade outside before he took the stage with his backing five-piece. Shortly after 9:00pm the purring engines on The Townsend’s front porch were replaced by a steady kick drum reverberating throughout the venue. The crowd immediately soaked into the show as Messier kicked-off his bash with Waiting for Eldridge hit carousel ride ‘Everything Breaks My Heart’. Messier’s carnival then voyaged into the subtle psychedelia of ‘Down’ and by the third song it was time for the lively frontman to show off his multi-instrumental repertoire and strap up his acoustic for a sweeping version of ‘Whispering’. The rattling hand percussion and squealing guitar stole the show on ‘Change’ before the crowd threw in a few ‘Happy Birthday’ chants to the man of the hour. The Boston-born Messier strutted a little Opry swagger on ‘Don’t Say Nothing’ and had the crowd swinging in unison with ‘Shoot To Kill’ before officially turning the party out with spooky fan favorite ‘Franklin’s Key’. Messier got nostalgic and channeled his inner-Jim Henson with a funky rendition of Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem’s narrative of heavy-duty proportions ‘Can You Picture That’ and even debuted a chivalrous teaser from his future ‘album with no name’.
Messier put on a helluva show Friday night showcasing his latest album Waiting For Eldridge along with a few old favorites. He’s a musician’s musician with a magnetic stage presence that can captivate a crowd of any size with his personable showmanship and arsenal of rock, jazz, Americana and funk. He’s one cool cat with a huge bag of talent well worth the price of admission. We agree with Messier, he probably should have charged a few extra bucks for the show.
Photographer J. Alan Love helped wish Messier a happy birthday with a few shots from the bash below.
Photos by: J. Alan Love
Article by: Doug Leach