American indie pop band Saint Motel stopped by Emo’s Austin on Friday, January 31. From Los Angeles, Saint Motel has been crafting memorably unique hits since they first formed in 2007. The band currently features A. J. Jackson (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass) and Greg Erwin (drums).
If you’re a fan, you’d likely agree that Saint Motel is difficult to fit in a box. Their music spans a variety of genres, from dream pop to funk rock, progressive indie to alternative. Between Jackson’s mesmerizing vocals, the band’s spirit and the groovy brass elements sprinkled throughout, anyone is guaranteed to fall in love with at least one of their songs.
Named the “Motion Picture Show,” Saint Motel’s current tour supports their latest project, called the “The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack,” modeled after a movie story line, the “Hero’s Journey,” with an Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3. The band recently released part one of three of the venture and launched the tour in late January.
The show kicked off with a classic movie voice over, narrating the band’s journey through an arctic tundra. Jackson arrived on stage bundled in a large fur coat, removed his hood and exclaimed, “I made it!” Lights danced across the venue as the band opened their set with one of their most popular songs, “Cold Cold Man.”
No one can quite match the vigor and joy that Saint Motel emanates onstage. Though musicians at heart, the band transforms into entertainers during a live performance, leaning into each song as if it was a story of its own. Throughout the evening, Jackson appeared in different themed outfits for each act, every one even more amazing than the one before.
Not a soul stood still at Emo’s, no face without a smile. The band’s contagious energy flooded the room through melodies and lyrics — the perfect Friday night for us Austin music lovers. Saint Motel’s Motion Picture Show will be a performance that many of will remember in days to come.
Song in the full set list included the following (those with links are my personal favorites!):
- Cold Cold Man
- Diane Mozart
- For Elise
- Sweet Talk
- Dear Dictator
- Puzzle Pieces
- Right Back Where We Started (Maxine Nightingale cover)
- Save Me
- Old Soul
- Chicago (Sufjan Stevens cover)
- Born Again
- Van Horn
- My Type
Feature Photo by Leigh Kettle
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.