Austin Challenger
Undulating Tummy
There aren't too many folks 'round these parts who would take a decidedly non rock-n-roll oriented band and put it in the rock oriented clubs of this here lil' ol' town of ours. The band Miracle Room has done this and have been graced for their efforts with a fair amount of success. Using a guitar, bass, and tons of metal percussion, Miracle Room consistently dishes out what I consider to be psychedelic music, music which challenges the listener and is also capable of producing pretzel-like trains of thought.
I've seen at least five "Miracle" shows and they've ranged from hyper intense to stark, moody, performance oriented material. A show that really sticks in my mind like an al dente pasta noodle on a kitchen wall was several weeks back at the Continental Club. The show started off pretty much as usual and gradually built in intensity until the last song of the set. The last song was a blissful orgy of sound and visually intense performance. The band was so intense that I actually became frightened for my life as the percussionist performed a love dance with a 55 gallon drum and several assorted chains and metal objects. The audience looked as if in a state of shock and had to dodge the crazed drummer and singer Steve Marsh, who was wielding a large piece of PVC pipe. After the show most audience members were either wearing huge grins or walking around in circles as if they had just been waken from an extremely deep, dream-filled sleep.
At the other end of the gamut was a recent two man show (bass and guitar with tapes) at the performance space on 7th and Trinity. Preceded by a performance art piece which bordered on painfully boring, Miracle Room came on and smothered the audience in feedback and ambient sound. Because of the lack of a drummer or even a drum machine most audience members seemed to be fish out of water without that drivin' beat they'vecome to expect when they see a rock show. But, this was no rock show. The performance was more subdued than usual and the songs melted happily from one to the other, leaving no time for the ritualistic applause after every show.
As time went on, the music lost more and more of its structure and truly taxed the patience of the audience until...what!! A vision, no, hallucination maybe--wrong--the very pregnant wife of Steve Marsh slowly coasts out across the stage completely naked and painted completely white. Definitely one of the most eerily beautiful sights I've seen since a spaceship showed up in my refrigerator. But what is she doing? She glides up to center stage and starts slowly moving to the music while a cousin bizarro slide show is projected on to her very pregnant, slightly undulating tummy. A wigout for sure, but just the kind of pleasant surprise that I needed.
I spoke on two separate occasions with both bassist Ed Greer and guitarist Steve Marsh about the band, its attitudes and music in general. Both members spoke of the band as being more than just a band, more of a "total commitment" or way of life than anything else. Steve claims that it's "sort of like being in a trance or in training for a's more than just rehearsal, it's living it." When asked about future plans, both were seething with enthusiasm and ideas for not only more music but also for more visual and performance escapades. Both members are highly committed to their music and ideas and are concerned with not coming across as "just another rock band." Steve says that "there's a large percentage of bands... being pushed as what's 'happening'...but they're not twisting anyone's sphincters."

Drowning Kevin