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MCG: Auspicious Beginnings

New musical groups appear in Austin every day. So many bands form that it is impossible to track them. Of course, their quality varies all over the lot--good, bad, and indifferent. One such newly formed group with star quality and huge potential is MCG, who performed their inaugural professional music set at Cheer Up Charlie’s in downtown Austin, Wednesday, August 20th, 2014.

The group, currently with five members playing multiple instruments, is the creative child of Mariclaire Gamble, who gives her initials to the band’s name and the eponymous first cd, newly completed and ready for release. Gamble is also the songwriter, lead singer, keyboardist, and sometime guitarist.

The music is first, as always, and MCG bills its sound as electro rock pop. This designation is certainly apt, but any band in its early stages is unafraid to explore its talent mix for the best sounds. And these musicians have a lot of talent. In addition to Ms Gamble, they are David Tenczer, Andrew Bennett, Drew Silverman, and Jay Cesak. Bassist Cesak and percussionist Silverman, relative newcomers to the band, gave us an especially close collaboration, enjoyable in its own right while doing the job of grounding the music and holding it all together.

Although extremely young, the band shows maturity in matching its music to Gamble’s lyrics. Gamble writes emotional story songs. For one so young, she shows a near-mystical ability to connect widely. Her “I Love the Time” touches, line-by-line, the experiences of anyone growing up in America. Check this out for yourself by adding the word “when” to the title: “I love the time when....” And then fill in the blanks with your own memories. This song connects, and it was an excellent choice for MCG’s first well-produced music video.

The hot, crowded indoor space of Cheer Up Charlie’s, formerly Club De Ville, was perfect for a bold opening concert. The room offers no space between the performers and the audience, no place to hide, and MCG asked for none. Perhaps fearlessness is the best single-word description of the band. And perhaps fearlessness is why MCG chose Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as its singalong cover song. When MCG treads the highway of impressive accomplishments in today’s music, you will know, you will know.