The scene in July was magnificent. Amid the standing room-only crowd at the Cactus Cafe and the soft clinking of cocktail glasses and dim lighting, Marmalakes took the stage.
For the night, the cafe wasn’t a listening room as much as it was a holding place for like-minded attendees clapping in sync with the band and cheering wildly, as they did in Marmalakes’ rolling epic “VITTORIA.” At other times, Marmalakes spun a web of delicate, almost overwhelming emotion, as in their back-country ballad, “Cast On.”
Made of Max Colonna on bass, Josh Halpern on drums and Chase Weinacht on guitar — all members share vocals — Marmalakes has the ability to transfix audiences with their constantly shifting style. One of their most recent songs, for instance, “Hands Alone in the House,” is a delightfully sinister throwback to the dark murder ballads of old.
Marmalakes will take the stage this Saturday at the Cactus Cafe opening for Alejandro Escovedo, an Austin music icon in his own right.
The band got together to collectively answer some questions The Daily Texan had in anticipation of their upcoming show.
The Daily Texan: When did Marmalakes first get started, and how?
Marmalakes: We’ve known each other since middle school and went to high school together. Josh and Chase began playing duo drums and guitar sets about four years ago, and Max joined in about two and a half years ago. We started playing under the moniker “Marmalakes” shortly after Max joined.
DT: One adjective to describe Marmalakes’ music?
DT: What was the first CD you purchased with your own money?
Josh: Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men (at Toys “R” Us).
Max: Astro Lounge by Smash Mouth.
Chase: The “Space Jam” soundtrack. I was obsessed with Michael Jordan as a kid.
DT: If your band could collaborate with any living musician in the world, who would it be?
Marmalakes: Joanna Newsom.
DT: What album have you listened to the most in the last week?
Max: Mezzanine, Massive Attack.
Josh: Being There, Wilco.
Chase: The Orchard, Ra Ra Riot.
DT: What was the best show you’ve ever played?
Marmalakes: Our EP release show at the Cactus Cafe in July was pretty spectacular. We unexpectedly sold it out and shared the stage with our friends Little Lo and Mother Falcon. Seriously one of the best nights, period.
DT: What is your favorite song to play live?
Marmalakes: It changes all the time, but recently “Auctioneer” has been going really well.
DT: When you were forming the band, were there any alternate band names you didn’t pick?
Marmalakes: “The Poogly Wooglies” was on the short list, but we figured that was too close to “Piggly Wiggly.” The early duo sets were billed as “Luigi” and then “A.M. Tealights.”
DT: Where is your favorite place to eat in Austin?
Marmalakes: Tom’s Tabooley, the Old School BBQ & Grill and Juan In A Million.
DT: What is your favorite website or blog?
DT: What is a perfect day for you?
Marmalakes: Coffee, listen to John Aielli, rehearsal, Frisbee, silly stuff, Bananagrams, bike ride, coffee, show, listen to KVRX.
DT: What’s the best thing about Austin?
DT: What’s the worst thing about Austin?
Marmalakes: There are so many bands all playing so often that you could never get a chance to see as many as you’d like.
DT: Describe your perfect sandwich.
Marmalakes: “The Ainsworth” at Fricano’s Deli.
DT: What are you reading right now?
Max: “Principles of Biochemistry,” Fifth Edition.
Josh: “The Jason’s Deli Catering Guide.”
Chase: “The Voyage Out,” Virginia Woolf.
DT: The usual coffee shop order?
Marmalakes: Quack’s iced coffee.
DT: Best pair of shoes?
Marmalakes: Anything not too worn out to dance or run in.
DT: Your favorite breakfast cereal?
Josh: Raisin Bran.
Max: Honey Nut Cheerios.
Chase: Apple Jacks.
DT: Fill in the blanks: If I weren’t ___, I would be ___.
Max: If I wasn’t Chase, I would be Josh.
Josh: If I wasn’t Max, I would be Chase.
Chase: If I wasn’t Josh, I would be Max.
WHAT: Marmalakes with Alejandro Escovedo
WHERE: The Cactus Cafe
WHEN: Saturday, 8:30 p.m.