A small but engaged crowd gathered in the sanctuary of Central Presbyterian Church to hear Twin Falls, a new acoustic rock act fronted by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional.
The show was the first South by Southwest performance for the group, which includes Carrabba, mandolinist and vocalist Suzie Zeldin, bassist Jonathan Clark and drummer Ben Homola. Zeldin said Carrabba, Clark and Homola have been playing together “a while,” and Twin Falls’ current lineup has been active for about six months.
Even in a new band, Carrabba drew in fans.
“I’ve been listening to Chris Carrabba for 13 years,” said Hayle Brick, downtown Austin resident. “I heard he was playing at SXSW and came to see.”
Zeldin, who plays in the indie pop band The Narrative, said her vocals were what led to joining the band.
“A friend of mine is a friend of Chris’,” Zeldin said. “He played in some of my music and (Carrabba) liked my voice, I think, and he contacted me, and we started to do covers together.”
Carrabba’s guitar strumming and Zeldin’s mandolin formed an acoustic rock set that was reminiscent of—but did not include—Dashboard Confessional’s past hits. The two’s vocal harmonies lent an upbeat, easygoing tone to the show, which finished with an acoustic rendition of Weezer’s “El Scorcho.”
The crowd filled the front of Central Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary. Early in the set, Carrabba invited spectators to huddle in front of the stage for a more intimate show. However, the closeness lasted only one song before church officials broke up the crowd, citing fire hazards.
“But don’t they light candles in here?” Carrabba asked before sending the crowd back to their seats.
The church was not the band’s only SXSW venue. Later in the week, Twin Falls played at The Stage on Sixth, Cedar Street Courtyard and a rooftop party at Whole Foods that included Rick Springfield, Andrew McMahon and The Hush Sound.
Twin Falls’ performance at the church was followed by Argentinian singer-songwriter Diego Garcia and British pop singer Paloma Faith. Faith later appeared at Perez Hilton’s One Night in Austin showcase at Austin Music Hall.
This year’s SXSW was the first to feature Twin Falls, but Zeldin and Carrabba have performed at past festivals with acts of their own.
“We (The Narrative) played a SXSW show a few years back,” Zeldin said. “And I’m sure Chris is no stranger to SXSW.”