Fetsum: Live at Hole In The Wall (Austin, TX)
Fetsum: "Live at Hole In The Wall (Austin, TX)"

This is a review of Coyote Music & Saustex Present an International Incident on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

After listening to Fetsum’s 45 minute set at the unofficial Coyote Music/Saustex Music showcase at Hole in the Wall during South By Southwest, the fire and energy that Fetsum displayed should set him on the path to a successful career. Coming to the Live Music Capitol of the World all the way from Berlin, Germany, Fetsum began writing music in his teens and hasn’t looked back.

Fetsum and his band opened their set with music that had a trancelike quality, which didn’t sound like it would make its way onto the average music listener’s iTunes playlist—just a bit too different for the casual music fan. The spacey feel of the song didn't seem to have enough zip to hold the interest of listeners who are glued to their radios. However, the band quickly changed up its style, moving into a poppy reggae groove that got the small crowd bobbing their heads.

Fetsum’s current single “Waiting For You” is a pop reggae song that is a good summer jam, its beat and Fetsum’s Marley-like vocals luring and inviting listeners to waste the day on the beach soaking up the sun. “Stay Who You Are” is a slower song, which flowed together nicely this afternoon. And while guitarist Leon Schurz made magic from his effects-laden acoustic guitar most of the set, the warbling guitar seem in conflict in this song, casting a shadow on what was otherwise a bright, happy vibe.

Fetsum’s band is also his studio and production team, evidence by the unity found within the sound coming from the stage. Schurz' guitar, Haze Haas' jazz-influenced bass, and the worldly rhythms of Benny Glass on drums were impressive. The band lived in every song, making sure the crowd felt their time watching the performance was well spent. Fetsum's quartet portrays a sense of passion not seen in typical line-ups, where a singer/songwriter is surrounded by for-hire studio musicians.

Having received coverage from Rolling Stone, NPR, and TEDx, Fetsum is on track to have a very successful music career filled with his heartfelt pop tunes and positive attitude. You can pick up his debut album The Colors of Hope on Amazon.com or in the iTunes store.

Reviewed on 3/18/13