A truly great weekend entails spending a night at the Curtain Club, at least in my opinion, and there were some talented bands playing there this night.
I wasn’t able to stay for the whole night, though, which is a rare event for me, and I didn’t even arrive until the first band was almost done with their set.
I did get there in plenty of time to see the instrumental trio Son of Swan, though.
The sirens of the songs sample track blared before drummer Billy Walker started them in on “SOS”, the opening song of their 30-minute long set. They got right down to business, with Neil Swanson so effortlessly shredding on his guitar, letting loose some shrill notes at times, while bassist Steve Wilson roamed all over the stage with a real swagger to his step. They followed it almost immediately with “Children Of The Night”, which is yet another raw rock song that encompasses some amazing guitar riffs and solos. At this point Neil approached the mic, informing everyone of who they were, before moving on with a couple more songs, one of which was a cover. Now, I’m not familiar enough with all their stuff to know it, but they did another original before tackling another cover. “…If you don’t know this one, well, maybe you should.” Neil said before they began it. I’m fairly certain they followed it with the intricately woven “30K Curse”, and before starting their final song, Neil made a very accurate statement. “…Remember, everybody that is somebody used to be nobody.” Very true, and great final words to speak for the night, before starting what I want to say was “Dog Days”.
Sure, song-wise this probably isn’t as accurate as I like to be, but that doesn’t change the fact that all those original songs plus the rest that comprise their seven song debut record are masterpieces.
Seriously, they are some of the best songs I think I’ve ever heard and when you see the live show that accompanies them, then you’ll love the band even more. Billy’s an incredible drummer, Steve has that casual persona that most bassists have, yet he’s constantly storming around the stage, and I don’t know how anyone couldn’t consider Neil to be one of the best guitarists they’ve ever seen.
He does steal the show with his guitar work, his hands racing all over the fretboard, yet he manages to maintain a more humble attitude in his playing. Whereas some guitarists give you the impression that they are wanting to go all-out and do some ridiculous guitar work that seems like it’s just to show off, Neil doesn’t at all come across that way.
It never seems like what he’s playing is meant to be showy, rather it’s just the natural progression of the song, and he doesn’t, say, hold the guitar in front of the crowd like “Look what I can.” Instead, what you see is simply a virtuoso at work.
I never imagined a day where an instrumental band could hold my interest, yet this was the third time I’ve seen them now and all three times my eyes have been glued to the stage. So if you think you won’t like them just because they are an instrumental act, just give them a chance. You’ll probably end up loving the music, and if you see a show, you’ll be blown away.
So far the only place to pick up their CD is at live shows, and next up on their calendar is May 24th at The Rail Club in Fort Worth, May 31st at O’Riley’s in Dallas and they will return to O’Riley’s on June 22nd.
Up after them was Greysmyth, and this was a pretty big show for the band, and even a bigger one for the singer.
See, this was the groups first show with Justin Ranton fronting the band, and it was also the first time he had performed on stage in over a year, and personally, I was beyond excited to be seeing that guy on stage again.
They opened their set with a song called “Avalon”, which got off to a slower start with some light notes from guitarists, Jerrod Nelson and Spuds Berryman, while Justin held back on his singing a bit. “Come on Dallas!” he roared after a bit, as drummer Brayton Lyons, bassist Kobe Garinger and the others really cut loose on the song, transitioning it into a full on assault of rock. They did several great songs this night, but that was one of my favorites. Before beginning their next song, Justin took a moment to speak to the crowd, mentioning that it had been “a long time” since he had been on a stage as he thanked everyone who was there for coming out. “…This next one’s called Feed the Need.” He said, as his band mates ripped into the song. “Feed the need, my intention is to be close to you…” sang Justin on the chorus of this powerhouse track, which was really driven by the rhythm section. They did one more hefty rock track, “Peripheral”, before slowing things down with “Rose”, which Spuds announced was for his wife. It oozed with feelings, but not in a true lovey dovey way, and it showed off another, more sensitive side to the rock outfit. “…He’s saying he can’t live without you…” Justin said to Spuds’s wife after they finished the song. They didn’t immediately bring things up, though, instead doing another lighter track, “A Way to Love”. Both of those softer songs were really good, but I really liked the latter of those two, and they both pushed the band out of their element a bit, in a good way. They returned to what they do best with a song called “Bloodlines”, before finishing their 34-minute long set with the killer, “Corpse Flower”, which was proof they had saved (one of) the best for last.
It was a great rock show, and I found myself wondering why I hadn’t heard of the band before Justin joined them, even if they hadn’t played too many live shows.
It was fantastic seeing Justin on stage again, and while he began the show seeming a little apprehensive, he quickly warmed up and got into the swing of things, moving about the stage, operating in synch with the music and just being a commanding frontman. And even though it had been so long since he sang on stage, he hadn’t lost any of his stage persona.
Regarding the songs, Spuds, Kobe, Brayton and Jerrod have created some great stuff and put on a good performance, getting better the further they progressed in their set.
The music is different from Justin’s past projects, and compared to those I think it’s more melodic (that’s not to say Greysmyth is a Melodic Rock band by any means), but his voice fits quite well with the music, and even kind of pushes his voice to new heights.
Point is, I loved their set, and I’m eager to see how Greysmyth is going to grow from here on out, like, what their songs will sound like with Justin being a part of the band now, and how much better their live shows will probably be once they get more practice under their belt and become even more cohesive.
Definitely keep an eye on these guys, or better yet go see them with your own eyes. They’ll be playing Wit’s End in Dallas on June 1st, then they’ll be back at the Curtain Club on July 26th.
Not long after they finished was when I left. Junk and Carmeci were probably great this night, but Greysmyth and Son of Swan were well worth the ten dollar cover, and I’m glad I was able to see both of them.
A truly great weekend entails spending a night at the Curtain Club, at least in my opinion, and there were some talented bands playing there this night.
Alex Allred is a singer/songwriter who has been entrenched in the North Texas music scene for a little over a decade now. He’s probably best known for fronting the hard rock outfit, The Aftermath Theory, a band that after five years, decided to go on an indefinite hiatus.
He’s working hard to change that, though, and in the late 2000’s he began writing some acoustic songs, readying himself for a solo career, and suddenly finding himself without band made this a good time to pursue this new musical outlet.
This new music was a vast departure from what he was used to, but it allowed him to test and push himself as a songwriter. A little over a year after his rock band had more or less called it quits, Alex was releasing his first album as a solo artist, and he had also welcomed two other musicians into the fold to back him up.
The album is titled “Born on 4/20”, which is his actual date of birth, and isn’t just a collection of random songs, but songs that chronicle his life.
The album begins with the title track itself, “Born On 4/20”, which is a promising, upbeat song that partly deals with Alex’s birth. It’s driven predominantly by the acoustic guitar, which eventually builds and hits a rather epic climax towards the end of the song. I feel the overall message of the song, though, is about chasing your dreams, regardless of what others may think, best summed up with the line, “…Count all your blessings and never attest to the world that dreams are only for the chosen…”, which Alex sings in his distinctive voice, which has nice, almost soothing quality to it.
The album doesn’t let up any, as it moves on to “Little Warrior”, a very melodic track where Alex continues to tell his life story to everyone, beginning with the (very) early days of his childhood. The drumming is often more simple on this one, often just a steady beat made by slapping one of the skins, but it mixes quite well with the guitar, creating a catchy music bed that will no doubt burrow its way into your head.
Things continue full-steam ahead with “Another One”, which mines a vein similar to the previous track, before offering a glimpse at his softer side of singing and writing with the longest song on the album, “Panic Attack!” which, despite the brief crescendo, is still more of a tranquil song.
“Phase”, which is the shortest offering on the record, comes next and finds Alex returning to his Rock ‘n’ Roll roots, albeit in more of an acoustic way. Sure, it may have a very stripped down sound, but it’s rather intense and could go up against some of the loudest rock songs and hold its own with ease, especially since it boasts a more noticeable rhythm section than previous song.
“I would do it if it takes me a lifetime. Good news, I’ve got nothing but time…” Alex croons at the start “#1 Scenario”, a song where he seems to reaffirm his love and dedication for his music career. It also finds him returning to a more traditional acoustic style of sound, different from the song that came before it, but that’s okay. His music doesn’t all have to be in-your-face to stick with you, in fact, this is one of the highlight tracks on “Born On 4/20”.
One of the cheeriest songs on the album is “Moments”, which emits a rather carefree attitude with its positive vibes, as Alex reminisces about growing up in his suburban neighborhood, before things take a more serious twist with “Biology, Not Chemistry”. “It scares me to say that we share the same DNA…” sings Alex, a line that perfectly summarizes how real and raw the track is.
There’s a slight reggae influence to “Just Breathe”, which is appropriate, given what the song is about. One of the lines from the chorus is, “…I could get used to this, faith, love and cannabis is happiness…”, obviously making marijuana what he is referencing to breathing. It’s not just a song about smoking pot, though, at least not in the sense where he’s simply stating that he does it. Rather, he kind of delves into what he gets from it, making a slightly more complex song than you might think it would be.
Aptly following it is “Young & Dumb”, where Alex bluntly recounts an indiscretion from his later teen years when a police officer caught him smoking a joint while driving down the highway. He’s very transparent about it all, matter-of-factly stating that it happened, though, essentially admitting that it was mistake of his youth, yet not showing any regret about the situation. Like he sings, “…Give it up for the young and dumb…” Oh, and the guitar chords are most excellent on this tune, too.
“Higher Learning”, a song that takes the listeners through Alex’s college years, is a real sing-along track, particularly on the chorus, “…Never said I didn’t do every little thing I wanted to…”, which I could see everyone shouting along with at one of his live shows. It’s just another fun song that “Born on 4/20” has to offer, and is a contender for best song on the record.
“Life & Times” concludes this nearly 40-minute long listening adventure, ending things on a chipper note, and this more love based song finds Alex meeting his (presumably) current girlfriend, and it comes across that he has an optimistic outlook on the future, as well he should.
“Born on 4/20” is a nice concept album of sorts, and it’s refreshing to see a musician write an entire collection of songs where he bares his soul, exposing who he is and informing everyone of what shaped him, rather than writing songs about ex-girlfriends and bad break-ups and such.
It’s also a record that will grow on you, trust me. I listened to every song at least five times each while working on this review, and with each listen, the music, from the beats to the chords, as well as Alexs’ one-of-a-kind voice, became more and more appealing to me.
These days, you don’t often see trios, and you probably wouldn’t think an acoustic one would be all that special, but Alex Allred and his band are one to get acquainted with, and “Born on 4/20” is the perfect introduction to their style.
The Alex Allred Band is:
Alex Allred - Vocals, Guitar
Kevin Broussard - Percussion, Vocals
Clinton Potter - Bass
Purchase the album on:
iTunes / Amazon mp3
Visit Alex Allred’s websites:
Offiical website / Facebook / Reverbnation / Twitter / Youtube
Saturday, June 29th at Liquid Lounge in Dallas, Texas
It was time for round two of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, and I was getting a much earlier start this day.
The first band I wanted to see went on at 2:20, at I got down to Dallas around that time, but the search for a parking spot took some time, and by the time I made it over to the main stage, Nicholas Altobelli and the Gigawatts were a little ways into their set.
Actually, they weren’t quite the Gigawatts, since they were missing a drummer and bassist, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Not long after I got there, Nicholas announced to everyone they were going to do a more “sensitive song”. That sensitive song was one of the tracks from his latest “Without a Home” album, “27 Stories”. “I don’t want to become something I’m running from… Crash and burn in the ground without making a sound, is that so hard to believe, or is it just me?…” Nicholas sang on the opening lines, using a more somber tone of voice on it to reflect the mood of it. After finishing it he mentioned his backing band The Gigawatts (pronounced like jig-a-watts), which was pedal steel guitarist Heather Kitzman, acoustic guitarist Robbie Saunders, and on the keys was Rahim Quazi, who is an accomplished area musician in his own right. Nicholas mentioned they were missing a few members, asking if they should change their name to the “gigabytes” since there were less of them. “No,” you could hear Heather saying while laughing. They then did another track from the new album, “I Don’t Think Tonight is Going to be a Good Night”, which was a little more upbeat, despite still being more of an emotional song, and it’s that certain level of emotion that is essentially a constant in all of Nicholas’s music. Without going into detail, he said that they seem to be cursed at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, saying they played here for three straight years and something always seemed to go wrong, and now they were sans a drummer and bassist. Still, that’s not terrible. They switched things up a bit as Heather left her pedal steel guitar and approached the stage right microphone. She has another band, The Blondelles, an all female Country band that does both covers and originals, and now one of her band mates from that group joined them on stage to perform a Blondelles tune. The song was quite good and the occasional harmonies they had going on were very delightful, leaving me with a strong desire to see a Blondelles show. They returned to their typical lineup and did a couple more tracks, one of which was a new one called “Dogwood”, which Nicholas said would be on his next record. Yes, not even two months after the release of his latest album and he’s already working on songs for his next album. You have to respect that. As for the song, it was very catchy and I loved the story it told. I’d even go as far as to say it’s one of the best things he’s written, which is saying a lot.
At this point, he asked the person working the sound how much time they had left. “…Please don’t say, like, forty minutes.” He said. Well, how much time do you think they had left? Yep, forty minutes. Judging Nicholas’s reaction, it was obvious they hadn’t prepared that meaty of a setlist, which meant most of what they did next was all impromptu.
Heather volunteered to do another song of the Blondelles, which killed some time, and afterwards Nicholas busted out an older song of his, one which he set up as being about a town in Michigan. The town he spoke of was Ann Arbor, which was the title of the song. I first saw Nicholas about a year ago and this song was my favorite from that set, but then he mentioned he was probably going to be retiring it to make room for his newer material. So, hearing it was a bit of a treat, for sure. He and Heather handled that song, but the other band members joined in for “I Just Want to Feel Real”, which was undeniable the most upbeat song of their set. It had already kind of been a song swap since Heather had done a few songs, and it definitely became one here, as Nicholas handed his acoustic guitar off to Rahim as the two traded places. He introduced himself to everyone, then did one of his originals and the title track of one of his albums, “Supernatural”. It was an infectious tune and instantly made me a fan of Rahim’s. I’ve heard some great things about him over the years, and now, I understand why. He got back behind the keys after that song, and they spread the love around some more, letting Robbie do a song, which had a Bluesy vibe to it. The best part about those other two songs was watching Heather, Robbie and Nicholas trying to play along with it and add backing vocals in parts, because, since they were unfamiliar with the songs, they were having to watch both Rahim and Robbie with an eagle eye while they were doing their song.
That seemed to have exhausted a lot of their options, and now Nicholas again asked how they were on time, hoping it was almost up. “Perfect.” He said after hearing they were down to three minutes, giving them just enough time to do the single from “Without a Home”, “The Lucky Ones”.
Considering about half of their set was made up on the spot, it was great show, and they pulled it all off without a hitch. Even without the rhythm section and doing acoustic versions of all the songs. I even think that out of the handful of shows I’ve seen of Mr. Altobelli’s, this one was the best yet.
See a show if you can. They’ll be playing at AllGood Café in Dallas on May 31st, along with The Blondelles. On June 28th they have a gig at Sundown at Granada in Dallas, and on July 11th they’ll be up in Denton at Dan’s Silverleaf. And if you’d like to listen to/buy Nicholas’s records, check out a couple of ‘em in ITUNES.
After their set, I went to find some shade, and wound up at the Deep Ellum stage were a band by the name of Chant was finishing up their set.
They were a mix of R&B and Soul, and what little I saw was absolutely amazing. The trio had a fantastic sound going for them, and by the looks of it, I wasn’t the only one they had reeled in. There was quite a crowd watching them, and once they were finished, the audience erupted in applause and cheers.
I killed some more time once they finished, ending up at the Singer/Songwriter stage around four where Clint Niosi was doing a show.
I first discovered him late last year at the Dallas Observer Music Awards showcase, but there was one big difference between that show and the one he was about to do, and that was that he now had a full backing band. In fact, this was the debut show of The Unaccountable, which was what Clints’ backing band has been named.
However, just because Clint now had a full band, comprised of Tommy Garcia on drums, Matt Hanson on the piano, bassist Aaron Bartz, and Claire Hecko playing the violin, didn’t mean he was going to stray too far from his sound.
Their 35-minute long set got off to a slow start as he slowly plucked the strings of his electric guitar setting up a song from his 2008 album “The Sound of Dead Horses Beaten Against Cold Shoulders”, “Coalmine Canary”. When it was time for the instrumentalists to join in, they were all pretty reserved with their playing, too. The bass lines were subtle, at times hardly even noticeable, while the drums were loud enough to be heard, but offered no competition between any of the other elements, and the keys and violin served to really accentuate Clints’ voice, which was undoubtedly the main focal point throughout the show. That all held pretty true for every song, and next they did the somewhat eerie “White Elephant”, off last year’s “For Pleasure and Spite” album. In listening to it, to realize not only how much power the music has in setting a songs mood, but also how much the lyrics and the tone they are said in affect it. “…There’s nothing new and it’s all been done. Nostalgic for the way it never was…” sang Clint on one of the later lines of “New Light”, a song that is one of the best example at what an incredible songwriter he really is. All of those songs thus far, and most of his in general, have a certain ominous quality to them. I like that about his music, but “My Mepistophilis” was a refreshing change of pace, since a little bit of the song is more upbeat musically. That served as a turning point in a way for the show, because the songs that followed it, “The Sum of Parts” and “Little Heart”, also have a somewhat happier or more tranquil vibe, despite that latter song being about a breakup. Sometime around this point (probably a few songs before) a guy walked up to the stage. “Hey, don’t be afraid to actually play that guitar!” he said to Clint, who shrugged it off as the guy walked away. It was funny, mainly because the guy couldn’t appreciate what the band was actually doing. They had a few songs left now, and had saved the best for last, and both “The Formless Black” and “Shark In Your Water” were highlights of the show, even though they sound completely different from one another. They had one song left after that, and ended it with another track from the latest record, “While I’ve Got You on the Line”.
It was a fantastic set, even if some people thought he needed to play the more loudly.
As a solo artist Clint is great, and when I first saw him he was accompanied by Claire on some of the songs, but The Unaccountable create a whole new layer on the live performance.
They make the songs really pop. Sure, it’s all very subtle, but, like I said in another recent review (though it was meant in a completely different way then), there’s beauty in subtlety. You don’t have to be a loud rock band doing flashy stuff on stage to get people’s attention. All you really need is to be able to write deep, powerful lyrics that can captivate the listener… Well, at least the listener who can appreciate it.
Clint is a truly remarkable songwriter, and hands down one of the best in the area. As for the band, he did a good job at assembling some talented individuals that really fit with his style.
Be on the lookout for the band, and as of right now their next show is May 18th as part of the Arts Google Festival in Fort Worth where they will be playing at Sinaca Studios. As for his two albums, they can be purchased in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP.
As soon as they finished, I hightailed it back to the main stage at Good Latimer, where the Indie/Folk band The Fox and the Bird was getting ready to play. I’ve heard a lot about them over the years, but had never made it to a show, so now was the time to see what all the fuss was about.
Their 47-minute long set was a mix of old and new material and they opened with one of those new songs. I was drawn in to it almost immediately, though, due largely to the three and even four part harmonies they often had going on, making it very entrancing. They followed it with “Traveling Bones”, a sweet little love song where backing singer and occasional lead singer Sarah Scotts’ voice intertwined gorgeously with singer and acoustic guitarist Dan Bowmans’. “…I’m in love with the view, but I’m more in love with you…” the two sang in synch with each other. They did a little over half of the songs from their debut album “Floating Feather” this night, and the next song they tackled from it was “Women In the Kitchen”. Additional acoustic guitarist Jacob Metcalf sang lead on that tune, which had more had more of a Folk/Country vibe, and Petra Kelly’s violin playing was superb on it. They did a newer song next, which just so happened to be about the fine city of Dallas, which made it very relatable for all those in attendance. By all those, I mean a lot, as there didn’t appear to be an empty seat anywhere, forcing a lot of people (myself included) to stand and watch their performance. Upon finishing it, Jacob mentioned that their new album, an EP titled “Darkest Hour”, should be out sometime in May. They then did a few songs from it, which required Dan to exchange his guitar for an accordion. Not only that, but he also used a trumpet from time to time over the course of the next few songs, one of which was sung Sarah, showcasing what a strong voice she has, while another was the final song from their first record, “Hey Sister”. It was slower in relation to most of their other stuff, which in turn made the drums, which were manned by Paul Grass, the dominant instrument. His drum kit was pretty small and far from traditional, as his bass drum was a suitcase. Very interesting, and as odd as it looked, it resulted in a sound much like that of an actual bass drum. They got back to their normal setup, with Dan on the guitar, in order to do “Oldest Old”, which was one of my favorites of their set, and “Old Mother” wasn’t too shabby, either. They did a couple more new tracks, then arrived at the title track from their current album, “Floating Feather”. This cheery song was the only I was truly familiar with (I admittedly haven’t listened to the album a whole lot). It was every bit as good live as the recorded version, and is arguable the best song they’ve written. They had one left after that, bidding everyone farewell when they finished it, saying “…We’ll see you next time.”
Now, I know the whole Indie/Folk genre is kind of played out at the moment, since it has suddenly become the hot commodity and there are now a bazillion bands like that who have become successes from the commercial aspect. Honestly, I’m as tired of it as probably everyone else is. And while you can’t say there’s no other band out there like The Fox and the Bird, you can say they are doing it all right.
It’s creative musically, and lyrically several of their songs tell some good little stories. Plus they are all very capable and great singers, whose different tones of voice make sure nothing ever gets to repetitive.
I really liked it and am glad I finally got to see one of their shows. Hopefully I can make it to another sometime in the near future.
Find their album “Floating Feather” in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP, and keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE for info about future shows.
So far there had been a lot of diversity between all the bands (and that’s just from the ones I chose to see) and it was about to get more eclectic when Reinventing Jude took the stage.
I’ve heard of the band for a few years now, but it wasn’t until the last six months or so when I actually listened to their stuff and became a fan.
The band, which is fronted by Jude Gonzalez, was functioning as a quintet this night, and along with all the typical instruments a band has, they also had a cello player.
Their first song proved the self-description of being a Ballroom Rock band to be an accurate one. That’s the similarity between their songs, they all have somewhat of a mellow vibe to them and are rather relaxing, while also stimulating. It’s quite interesting, and had me captivated from the start. I think they followed it with “1919”, which let Judes’ smoky voice flow while she played her guitar. There’s no doubt that she drew the most attention, but her band mates were putting on a good live show as well and put more energy into it than you might expect based on their style of music. Yun Kim was a powerful drummer who was really into it all, and lead guitarist Nathan Hanlon is an exceptional guitar player, though he was more restrained here than with the rock band I last saw him in. They did another song before getting to what I think was “Midnight 30”, which was at times a little more upbeat, and had some nice cello parts courtesy of Ashley Montez, while bassist Chris Townsend and Yun created a very strong rhythm section on that one. “The Talk” was one of their most dynamic songs of the night, and “The Weather” was pretty good, too. Jude announced their next song was “Secret”, a track from the 2011 album “Shoulder Season”, and another one that showed off Judes’ somewhat sultry voice as she crooned on the chorus, “…I’m gonna fall in love and I’m gonna keep it…”. Before beginning the next one, she announced it was named “Swimmer Song”, which was an amazing song, and they did one more after it to finish up what had been a stellar 47-minute long set.
It was a nice set and I can’t believe it took me so long to see a Reinventing Jude show.
They have an extraordinary sound, and Judes’ voice is one of the smoothest and most distinctive I’ve heard. The slower pace most of their songs have might not be for everyone, but if you don’t mind that and you like music that has real substance and meaning to it, than you need to give Reinventing Jude a listen.
You can buy their albums in ITUNES, and get some free downloads of some singles on either REVERBNATION or SOUNDCLOUD.
They usually keep pretty busy when it comes to live shows, and as of right now you can find them at Hailey’s in Denton on May 10th, and the following weekend, May 18th, they’ll be at The Freeman in Dallas.
There was one last act I really wanted to see this night, and that was the Alt/Country band from the small town of Belton, Texas, Kirk Baxley and the Old Number Sevens.
The four-piece’s opening track was really good, and they kept the show rolling with the smooth sounding “Drive”, which is one of the tracks from the “Cold as a Stone” EP. It does kind of call into question how Alt/Country the band is, though, and singer and rhythm guitarist Kirk Baxley brought that up at one point during their set, saying that some people will classify them as that. “…I like to think of us as being more Belton, Texas Country…” he said, and that genre has a dash or two of rock added to the mix. Those first two songs had been pretty loud and fast paced, but now they took things down for a few notches with the sensitive love song, “Constantly”. Kirk’s always been good at the ballads, and that tune is a fine example of that. They stepped things back up afterwards with what was the most rocking song of their set. The bands lead guitarist really got to cut loose on this one, shredding and cranking out some awesome lines, and the drummer was able to let his chops show as well. It was beast of a song, and hopefully it can make it onto their next record. Kirk did some chatting with the crowd in between songs, doing everything from pumping the crowd up, to talking about the next song they were going to do. He did the latter here, saying the one they were about to do was for his dad. It was nice song, and they followed it with a few other non-album tracks, one of which was an old gem from the first time he played back during the time of his first country project, “God in Rock ‘n’ Roll”. I love that song and the positive energy it has, and it was great getting to hear it again, ‘cause it’s been a couple years at least since I last heard it. Before their next song, Kirk asked if anyone hailed from a small town, saying that was exactly what this next song was about, and it was aptly titled “Small Town”. “…Being from a small, small town, it ain’t easy…” Kirk belted out on the chorus, telling it like it is in a way, but the overall message is being from a small town isn’t that bad, and it certainly can’t define who you are or what you can do in life. They again slowed things down, way down at that, this time with the title track of their EP “Cold as a Stone”. I believe it was at this point where Kirk asked if anyone had a problem with them slowing it down and making it even more depressing. It was hard to think that could happen, but it did, and I think that was also the song where the bands bass player switched from an electric bass to an upright bass. It added a good sound to the music, but he went back to the electric bass for their next song, “Bring My Brother Back”, and after another song, they broke out the fan favorite, “Rock ‘n’ Roll in My Veins”. “I’ve got rock ‘n’ roll in my veins, but I love country music just the same…” Kirk sang at the start of this intense rock song, a song where you saw a glimpse of his rock frontman personality jump out. I thought the show was over with that, since it is a fan favorite and seemed to please everybody who was watching them this night, but they had one more left to cap off their 65-minute long set.
It was an awesome show, and much better than the last time I saw them, where they were limited to a five song set. I really liked it because even though he’s been doing this for a few years now, I’ve never been able to see a full set from him and his band in order to get a real taste of what their sound is like, and now that I have, I love it.
The music is far from being true Country, so it’s not going to alienate his older fans (at least not most of them), but they’re certainly not the loud, heavy rock songs he used to write, either. Instead, what he does now is a nice blend of each.
After all these years, Kirk is still one of the best singer/songwriters here in the area. Sure, he might not live in Dallas per say, but this has always been his hometown of sorts, which he pointed out while playing, saying he’s often been at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in past years, but had never performed it until now, and he was proud to be able to.
They’ll be pretty busy the last half of May, doing a two night stand at the House of Fifi Dubois in San Angelo on May 17th and 18th. On the 24th they’ll be at The Rattlesnake Inn in Florence, then on the 31st they have a gig at Darwin’s in Austin. Also, be sure to check out their EP in ITUNES.
There was one band left, and somehow I didn’t know The Roomsounds were playing this thing until a few hours before this point. I really considered staying to see them, but after being out since the early afternoon, I was beat and decided to call it a night.
All in all, I had a blast at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, or rather watching the bands that played it. This was the second straight year I’ve attended two out of the three days of the festival, and I’m already looking forward to what bands will be playing it next year.
It’s spring, which means it’s festival season, this week it was time for the annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival.
Like the name suggests, it is an arts festival, with tons of artists from all over setting up shop along Main Street, which is partially blocked off.
Also, they have a variety of bands playing multiple stages, which is what gets my interest, especially since it’s free. So, since I was going to catch a show in Deep Ellum in the first place this night, why not get down to the area early and see some of the acts at the arts festival.
Midnight Empire had been playing for awhile by the time I arrived, and I made it over to the stage as they were wrapping up one of their newer songs. They had some old gems thrown in, too, though, like the fan favorite, “Can’t Get Enough”. It sounded as good as usual, and the sweet guitar solo Art Struck rocked out helped make the song, but they were oddly reserved while performing it. Actually, the same went for their entire set, or at least what I saw of it. I hate to say it, but it did affect the show, and as cohesive as drummer Matt Cook and bassist Rick Reynolds were on the next song, “Tidal Wave”, it just seemed weird with them being rather motionless, while singer Jacob Henderson casually walked around the stage. After finishing it, he said he didn’t think they had played that song in about a year or so, asking Art if that was right or not. They finally agreed it was, and that they had probably last played it at one of the clubs down here in the Deep Ellum area. The ballad “Two Against One” brought the level down for a moment, before bringing it back up with some more full on rock songs, four to be exact, which closed out their set. That seemed like the end, but after finding out they had a few more minutes left on the clock, Jacob informed everyone they were going to do one more, another new one that would be on their sophomore album.
I’ve only seen one full show of the bands, and caught another partial set before this one, so I know what Midnight Empire is capable of, and will gladly write this off as they were just having a bad night. Still, none of them really seemed like they were into it, and the passion from the musicians (or lack thereof) can make all the difference in how shows are perceived.
This was just an off night for them, and still think they are probably one of the most talented bands in the Dallas music scene at the moment. They have two big shows coming up, one will be at the House of Blues in Dallas on May 22nd opening for Ratt. The other is July 18th at the Rock USA Festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Check out their debut album “Everything and Nothing” in ITUNES, as well as get some free singles on their REVERBNATION page plus some live cuts of a couple newer tracks on their SOUNDCLOUD page.
I killed a little bit of time by walking around and looking at some of the art after they finished, getting back to the stage a little after eight to make sure I didn’t miss any of Sayonara.
This was going to be an interesting set from the band to say the least, since earlier in the day singer and guitarist Debbie Blythe had gotten ill, posting online that the show may have to be an instrumental one.
Luckily, by the time they started had 8:19, her voice had recovered thanks to a steroid shot she had gotten at the doctor, which she mentioned a few songs into their set. All that said, you never would have known anything was wrong as they rocked out their opener, “Rendezvous at the Slaughtered Lamb”. That first song of their 44-minute long set sounded exactly like the fans were expecting, with Debbie hitting all the notes just fine with her unique voice, while the often smooth bass lines Sean Blythe was cranking out gave the song a great texture. When that song ended, he mentioned he had been down in Houston and had “…hauled ass…” to get back up here in time to do the show. That brief banter ended, as they started into one of only a couple older songs that were in the setlist this night. It was the lead track from their first EP, “Mothership”. It’s still one of their best songs, and since I’d only seen the band once before, I forgot how good it was live, being a fairly loud rock song with some killer beats from drummer Jonny Williams, but contrasting that, Debbies’ voice is a little softer and lacks the aggression heard on other songs, which makes for an exceptional tune. They did another new song next, one that often found Debbie moving her guitar behind her, playing the keyboard instead, giving it a slightly different feel from their other songs. At this point, Debbie apologetically informed everyone she needed to give her voice a rest, turning the next song into an instrumental one. “…I hope y’all don’t mind too much…” she said to the fans, several of whom were clustered in front of the stage. They seemed okay with it, and personally, I liked it much more than I thought I would. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a fan of instrumental music, but without the lyrics taking some of my attention, I was able, or rather forced, to pay attention to their musicianship, and each of them is amazing at what they do. Sean owned it on the bass (and not just during this song), really getting into the music and rocking out. Jonny made the drumming look rather effortless at times, offering some slick moves from time to time, and Debbie picked at her guitar with calculated precision, but could also shred quite well when she needed to. Another new song came next, followed by another instrumental, and I believe that one actually is meant to be an instrumental track. “I Need Japanese Steel” was one of the most impressive songs of their set, and they cooked up one hell of a song with that one. After finishing it, Debbie mentioned she had been put on antibiotics, which led to a conversation about how she found out a little while back that drinking anything alcoholic while taking meds doesn’t make them any less effective. Instead, she said it just makes the potential side effects, say tiredness for example, more potent. It made for an interesting conversation, but soon they did another newer song, and then one of my favorites of theirs, “Discourage Wolf”. They had one left in the chamber after that, and finished a great show with one more new one.
I think the band members were just as skeptical of how this show was going to go as some of the fans were, and giving the circumstances, I was impressed by them.
For an off night, Debbies’ voice sounded great and showed no sign of weakness. In fact, there was one song where she did some screaming, and her voice didn’t even crack. And I did touch on their performance earlier, but this was a real rock show they put on this night.
Keep up to date with them and see when they’ll be playing, and if you can, go to a show. You’ll be glad you did. Besides, both times that I’ve seen them know Debbie has been sick and had to hold back on her singing, so if their this incredible on an off night, no telling what they’re like at 100%.
There was one more band I wanted to see at the arts festival, but I killed some time by going into the Curtain Club, then going to the Deep Ellum stage to see Vinyl Pilot.
I got there a little late, and the band was finishing up one song, which they eventually wound into “Watch It Grow Old”, from their older “So far, By Far” EP. The stage was smaller, especially with all the gear and five guys on it, but they didn’t let that hinder them, especially not lead guitarist Kyle Burkett, who was moving all over stage left, tearing it up on his guitar. He wound them seamlessly into their next song, which is the following track from that EP, “Keyword Optimism”. “Lock your doors and close your windows. So far, by far this is the worst time that I have ever had…” sang singer and rhythm guitarist Jeff Lowe, whose voice perfectly fits the upbeat, in your face style of Alt/Rock with touches of Pop that the band plays. They stopped long to briefly chat with the crowd, and then announced their next song was a newer one, before launching into it. So far, it had been strictly about the music so far, but they, or rather the bands newest addition, bassist Patrick Hunter, had some fun with the crowd now. He mentioned how lovely everyone looked, saying that they all ranked probably a nine and a half. “…Alright, alright, I’ll say a ten…” he said all serious like, like he was rating an official contest or something. “Bet You Won’t” was the next song in the setlist, but it didn’t being like it normally does, instead they had worked up an awesome intro for it, which just had the quintet, including keyboardist Chase Eriksen and drummer David Tapp just jamming. They were going all out and it lasted a few moments, before subsiding, highlighting Jeff’s singing for a moment as the song officially got underway. They kept up the high-energy pace of the show with the arresting “No Way in Hell”, but soon shook things up with the title track of their latest EP, “A Beautiful Disaster”. Beautiful is exactly what it is, with the notes Chase plays on the keyboard being nothing short of heavenly, while the lights guitar and bass lines accentuate it quite well. It’s not all serene and relaxing, though, eventually growing into a beast of a rock song, and in my opinion, it doubles as being the most intense song in their arsenal. With that, their 33-minute long set (well, that was what I caught of it anyway) was almost up, and they ended with a new, non-album song called “The Great Unknown”. It’s the perfect title for a song to close with, and left things on a good note.
This was the best Vinyl Pilot show I’ve seen yet, even if they didn’t have as much room on stage as they did at the last venue I saw them at. The reason I liked this one so much more is because they seemed more cohesive here. They were all in synch with one another, and I loved how Kyle segued them from one song to the next early on in the set. It gave things a very fluid feel, and I wouldn’t complain if they did even more of that.
And going back to the cohesive thing, Patrick meshed much better with them than he did on February 1st when he played his first show with them. I don’t mean that just in the sense that they’ve gotten more accustomed to each other, either. He added some comical relief of sorts with his occasional dialogue, and got a good rapport going with the audience.
Their an all-around great band, and if you want to see a show for yourself, well they have a free one coming up on June 5th at the Rockin’ Rodeo in Denton. They’ll be opening for Bowling for Soup, which is all the more reason not to miss out on the show. You can also find both of their EP’s in ITUNES, which I’d suggest checking out.
Night one of the arts festival was pretty fun, and I got to see some great bands, but just because the festival was getting ready to close for the night didn’t mean the night was over, as I headed back to the Curtain Club for some more music.
Why not make the last of my two and a half days in Austin the longest day of all? That way I could cram in as much live music as possible before heading back to Dallas.
So, instead of heading downtown in the early afternoon like the previous days, my dad and I journeyed down there in the late morning, arriving at Whole Foods shortly after eleven.
Yes, that is the Whole Foods store that sells natural and organic foods, and on the rooftop of the store (which was a nice patio area that even had a small playground area for kids) Quantum Collective and Amazon MP3 were presenting a showcase dubbed the Southwest Invasion.
It was an odd setting for a concert, but hey, whatever works.
The bands had started even earlier than when my dad and I arrived, and stumbled across a gem of a band from Echo Park, California, named Rainbow Jackson. They were essentially done, only having a few songs left to do, but what I heard was sensational.
They are self-described as scuzzed-up power pop, and while that is accurate, they could just as easily be considered rock ‘n’ roll. There was also somewhat of a dreamy quality added to it by Sam Dagger and Chad Carlisle, the lead guitarist and singer and rhythm guitarist, respectively, giving a slight 60’s vibe to the music. And speaking of Chad, he has an amazing set of pipes. Just an all around incredible voice.
I wish I had been able to see more of the bands set, or even another show or two they undoubtedly played while here in Austin.
They have an EP and a single available on their BANDCAMP PAGE, and I should mention both are free to get, so go download them.
The Royalty was up next, and after hearing many good things about this El Paso, Texas based band, I was excited to finally get to see a show.
Their brief 19-minute long set focused entirely on their 2012 full-length, “Lovers”, and they began with “Other Boys”. That song (and their music in general) also had a dreamy quality to it, only in the indie rock vein, and came courtesy largely of keyboard player, Daniel Marin. Fitting perfectly with it was the sweet and even soulful voice of singer, Nicole Boudreau, as she sang about a love gone by. Things got pushed a little closer to the rock realm with “Say the Word”, and allowed guitarist, Jesus Apodaca, bassist, Mike Hernandez, and drummer, Joel Quintana, to get more into it and rock out, while Nicoles’ voice soared on the chorus, “Just say the word and I would never leave, I would never leave you…” “This next song is called I Want You.” Nicole said, which was about the extent of the talking she did, aside from announcing who they were, as they had to rush through their set. After that catchy, up-tempo number, they did “Please Lie”, which is a genius blend of multiple more nostalgic styles of music, with a bit of a modern twist. I would have loved if they could have played an additional twenty minutes, because I was really caught up in the music, but by now their time was almost up, and as Jesus and Mike swapped out instruments, Nicole set up their final song, which was their single, “Bartender”, which arguable was the best song of their set.
Even with a short set, the band still lived up to what praise I had heard, as well as my expectations just from listening to the music.
They are unlike anything else I’ve heard, and while it could be easy to say they’re simply a pop band upon first listen, they’re really much more complex. As it says on their bio on Facebook, some of their influences are the “…girl-groups of the Motown and Spector era…” which is evident, and predominantly is manifested in Nicoles’ unique voice. It’s not just the range she has that is remarkable, but the fact that she can have a soulful quality to her singing when needed, or can even fit into that Motown genre with ease.
They’re a very talented group, whose already got some good accomplishments under their belt, including having their music featured on numerous television shows, and with a show and sound like this, I imagine that momentum will only continue. So go see them now, while they’re still relatively unknown, and you can catch them in a more intimate setting.
They don’t have any tour dates on the books right now, but just keep an eye open, and check out both of their albums in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP.
After them was one of the bigger name acts playing this day party, and that was Casey Crescenzo and his group of touring musicians, collectively known as The Dear Hunter.
They got the same 19-minute long set, but as long as their songs are, they only got to play a handful of tracks, most coming from various EP’s in the Color Spectrum collection, like “Echo”, from the “Orange” EP. It worked well as an opening song, starting off slow, but quickly gaining speed, with the best moment being the instrumental break, where Casey and his five band mates, two other guitarists, a bassist and drummer, got to cut loose, and even with the tight conditions on stage, still managed to rock out. They wound it seamlessly into their next song with some mangled guitar notes that lasted for a bit, before their drummer started in, giving the song more body and revealing it to be the final track from the “Yellow” EP, “Misplaced Devotion”. It raised the already high mood exponentially, and that’s something a great band would do, start the listener off at one place, then bring them up more. Also, the harmonies on that song, as Casey and a few of the other musicians shouted, “Ooooohhhhh” repeatedly, were to die for. The oldest (and longest) song the rock/indie/progressive outfit did was “The Pimp and the Priest”, before concluding things with “Home”, which seemed like it was written to be a closing song, and provided a great ending to this brief little set where all the songs seemed to tell a small piece of a larger story.
I wouldn’t say I had actually seen a The Dear Hunter show before, but I had caught the last bit of his set last year when the band toured with Anthony Green, and since then I had been eager to see the band. I still am actually, at least a full set from them. Part of me know even regrets coming to Austin on Thursday, and wishes I had stayed in Dallas to see the headlining show that TDH did that night. But I digress…
Though short, they still put on a phenomenal performance. Caseys’ voice sounds every bit is amazing live as it does on the recordings, and that, along with his ability to pen songs that tell a story, are the two best things the band has going for them. And when you combine those with their lively performance, you get something that’s out of this world.
They recently released their latest album, “Migrant”, which they’ve been touring in support of. A few dates remain on the current tour, and can be found HERE. I hope more will be added sometime, too, and if they are, hopefully they’ll come back through Dallas. Speaking of the record, you can buy it HERE, along with their many other releases.
I had thoroughly enjoyed all those bands I’d seen here so far, but the one I was most excited to see was Erin Austin, who is probably better known by her stage moniker, OK Sweetheart.
The title track of her 2011 debut, “Home”, opened her and her bands set. It’s a infectious little tune, and during parts of it they had almost everyone clapping right along with the drumbeats, and that audience participation made things all the more fun. “Traitor” was another track from that album that made it into their abbreviated set, with Erin crooning out the lyrics, “…I keep on smiling at it all, ‘cause I’ve got something that they don’t, and wouldn’t you like to know what is…”, while banging away at the keys on her piano. They followed it with “You Let Me Down”, which is one of the best examples of the bands self-described “heartbreak pop” sound and is chock-full of emotion, then moved on to one of their many new songs, which I believe was titled “Looking”. It was really good, however I was more partial to the next and final song of their 17-minute long set, “Come Back to Me”. Erin left her piano for that one, and asked everyone to clap along to the beat for the duration of it, which she also did. It was a very solid song, and is just one more of her newer songs that has now become a favorite of mine.
There were many others I would have liked to have heard this day, too, if only they had, had the time for it. Still, it was a great set they did, and out of all the bands I saw here on top of Whole Foods, they were my personal favorite.
The touring musicians that playing alongside her were some of the best I’ve seen in OK Sweetheart, out of the few times I have seen them live. The guitarist, bassist and drummer all had good stage presence and were just great musicians. As for Erin, I’ve said this (or at least something similar to it) each time I’ve seen her and I still stick by it, she is one of the best vocalists out there, and not just in the female vocalist category, either. Her voice is heavenly, yet there’s a real force to it that will capture your attention from the first word, and keep you fascinated right up until the end of the last song.
You can find the “Home” album in ITUNES, plus a live recording of one of their newer songs “If You Let It”, which is a gorgeous, amazing song.
Afterwards, we headed towards Downtown Austin, where the majority of the action was.
The specific destination was a newer venue called Amped, which featured stages both upstairs and downstairs, and the Red Gorilla Music Festival had filled both stages with some great talent. It was here (and downstairs) that the Seattle, Washington based act, The Local Strangers, were playing.
When talking about another band I saw while down in Austin, I mentioned Noisetrade.com, and that website was also responsible for me coming across this band.
They were already playing by time we got there, but I did see the final 30-minutes of their show.
The duo of Aubrey Zoli and Matt Hart, both of whom sang and he played an acoustic guitar, were finishing up one song, then announced their next one was “Mr. Blackberry”, from their 2012 full-length, “Left for Better”. It was a short song, but was utterly astounding. Matt really utilized his guitar, using it to add a slight percussion effect to it, while Aubrey killed it with her strong, undeniable voice. “…This next song’s called Partner in Crime” Matt said, as they brought things down a little. With this more folksy song you stated to see all the layers the band has, though, as they alternated between who sang, and even harmonized at times giving the song a lovely layer, making it one of the most beautiful songs of their set. In setting up their next song, Aubrey mentioned that the day before they had played it in a church and it was little awkward. “…You’ll understand when you here it…” she said, as Matt began “Devil and a Stiff Drink”. I’m they sure they did feel a bit odd playing that song in a house of God, especially with the lyrics, some of which are, “…I don’t need no savior, don’t wanna be saved, don’t need no holy roller telling me just how I gotta behave. Just give me my Devil and a good stiff drink…” That doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic song, though, and another good one was “Give Up the Ghost”, which transitioned the show into a slight somber mood. “Uptown” brought things back up, though, and even on this stripped down version the song still had a certain peaceful quality to it, which was only enhanced by the upbeat tone Matt had while singing. They came across as being very personable, talking to the meager crowd in between every song, and now they added a bit of a storyteller’s vibe to the show. Matt mentioned the next one was written by Aubrey, after she started watching the TV show Breaking Bad, catching up on all five seasons of the series in just a short span of time. As they said, “…It’s a lot to take in…” It was a really great song that will hopefully make it onto their next record someday, and it was also the last original one they did. In setting up their final song, they mentioned they have a full-band back in Seattle and that they do a cover of a Patty Griffin song, which is what they closed with. That song was “Forgiveness”, and they did a beautiful rendition of it.
I was truly surprised by this band, mainly because with only one instrument, and that being an acoustic instrument no less, they managed to be almost every bit as loud as a full blown electric group.
The best part however, was definitely the Americana/Folk brand of music they played and the vast range it had in every aspect, and how they could be doing a stunning song with some harmonies one moment, and then switch gears to something that really packed a punch. Switching it up like that ensured that they never got monotonous and always kept the attention of the crowd… Well, that and the stellar voices each Matt and Aubrey possessed.
You can find both of their records in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP, so give them a listen. They also have some shows coming up, so check out their TOUR DATES for a complete list.
The Heart of Texas Rockfest was the next destination, mainly because if I didn’t have anything listed at a specific time, why not go there and see who was playing. And the band setting up on stage was one I had seen Thursday after first getting down here, Love and a .38.
Singer, Ryan Hudson, started the Los Angeles based bands set with a joke, saying they were about to do a show of nothing but “Freebird”. Danny Excess then launched the band into “Shots at Sunset”, while Ryan thrashed about to the music before having to start singing. His voice was a little (or a lot) worse for wear compared to the other day, especially on the chorus, “Lights at midnight, halfway home…”, where he almost fell completely flat. I can’t fault him, after all, a song or two in he mentioned they had done “a million shows” in four days. “…At least it feels like it.” He added. Unfortunately, that’s a side effect of playing multiple shows in a day, and after seeing them the other night, I know what they’re capable of when they’re at one hundred percent. “”This next song is called Lovely Lies.” He said, as his band mates edged into the killer rock song. “…This next song is our most Texas song…” he announced after they finished the last song, then looked at the rest of the band to see if they agreed. “It’s not really about Texas…” he clarified, “…But it’s our most Texas song…” The song was “Just a Woman”, and Domo Domaracki helped get it going, with the almost bluesy notes he cranked out on his guitar. They followed it with their all out rock song “Rock ‘n Lola”, which really allowed bassist, Justin Emord, and Danny to let loose and roam about the stage and shredding on their instruments. With that, their short 21-minute set was almost up, but not before their cover of a rock classic. “…I know it’s night, but we’re gonna do this song anyway, just because it’s fun…’ Ryan stated, segueing them into “Sunglasses at Night”, which they do a great cover of, even with Ryan having an off day.
Honestly, no, they weren’t as good this time around as the other show of theirs I had caught, and I think I made the reason for that clear. But despite being his voice being shot, Ryan still acted like a professional frontman, and gave it his all singing, not trying to half-ass it or anything. And regardless, music wise, they still sounded excellent.
You can find the EP they have in ITUNES, along with enough singles to make another EP. And one of those singles is “Sunglasses at Night”.
As soon as they finished, it was on to Peckerheads, where Civil Twilight was getting ready to play a set.
Despite the band being a fairly big name act, I hadn’t even heard of them until seeing they were playing another free show down here, then decided to catch this one at Peckerheads instead.
The four-piece band, who originated from Cape Town, South Africa, was still setting up when we got there, and had amassed quite the crowd, all of whom seemed eager for the band to start.
They began their 25-minute long set with the explosive “Soldier”, and I liked how it eased you in. Kevin Dailey’s keyboard playing and the notes guitarist, Andrew McKellar, churned out, while soft, were more than enough to reel you in. It was the chorus where the song suddenly sprang to live, though, as singer and bassist, Steven McKellar, shouted, “…I don’t stop ‘til the end of the show I don’t stop ‘til my country says so I don’t know why I raise this hell I’m just a soldier, fighting for someone else…” The craftsmanship that went into the song was very noticeable live, and I loved the nice ebb and flow it had, which kept you fascinated throughout it. To say I was hooked would be an understatement. They slowed things down a little with another track from their self-titled album, Trouble”. It was on that one where the band, and in particular Steven’s voice, reminded me a lot of U2 and their frontman, Bono. It didn’t come across like they were trying to emulate that band, but regardless, that’s not a bad group to sound like. Steven set up their next song, saying that a fan had requested it, and went into a little speech about how when someone does request a song, a band should play it, because that’s such a huge compliment that someone does know the song and likes it so much. That was the gist of it, anyway, and earned Civil Twilight a lot of respect in my book. I’ve seen and heard stories of other bands who cuss at fans for requesting a song, so it’s nice to see a band that appreciates their fans enough that they’ll honor a request. The song was “Quiet In My Town”, which was the longest and most beautiful song of their set. “Today I heard that someone left this earth, that someone disappeared, left no mark here. Today I heard that someone just got up and left himself lying on the ground…” crooned Steven, who had switched out to a guitar for this song, or at least part of it. The somber mood it set conveyed the sadness perfectly, and was even beautiful in a sense, before transitioning into a full-scale rock song, when Steven got his bass back and Richard Wouters began pounding out the beats on the drums. The band wrote something else when they did that song, and it truly is a masterpiece. That brought them to the final song of their set, and saw Steven take over the keyboard duties, while Kevin got his bass in order to do “Letters From the Sky”. What really set this song off was Andrew playing his guitar with a bow, like how a violinist does, adding a pretty texture to the song, which also started out rather tranquil, but eventually became a force to be reckoned with.
That was it, and they started working to get their gear off stage, while some fans screamed, “But you have to play River!” The guys shrugged it off at first, but then looked at the sound guy, like they might do it if they had time. “I’m sorry, we’re out of time.” Steven informed the audience, and he seemed very genuine with that, seeming sorry that they couldn’t do this other song so many people wanted to hear.
I’m perfectly happy with what they did, though, and while more would have been nice, it was an amazing set they did nonetheless.
What I enjoyed most about them was how each song tells an actual story. There’s true depth and meaning to their music, which sadly doesn’t always seem to be a key factor in music these days.
They have a few festival shows happening this summer, one of which will be in Chattanooga, Tennessee in June, and the other will take place in July in Cincinnati, Ohio. Check out their TOUR DATES page for full info, and also head over to ITUNES and check out their two records.
As soon as they finished it was down the stairs and out the doors, making our way to The Dizzy Rooster where a Chicago based band, Hessler, was scheduled to be just starting.
They were indeed in full swing, and there were plenty of other people who wanted to see the band as well, making it hard to even push through the crowd to get back to where the stage was.
After finishing up the song they were on, they announced the next one was “Kamikazi”, which comes from their debut EP, “Bad Blood”. The slick guitar notes and rapid, loud drumbeats at the start made it an easy song to headbang to, but they really kicked it up several notches once Lariyah Daniels started singing. She, guitarists, Igz Kincaid and Frankie Sripada, and bassist, Erik Michael, ran all over the stage, not letting the tight, close conditions on stage restrict them in the least. That made it quickly apparent that the live show was where these guys excelled and that this was going to be an assault on all the senses. After powering through another song, they moved on to the darker, “Confessions”. There seemed to be a little more grit, piss and vinegar in Lariyah’s singing on this song than the others, especially on the last verse, “…Come to me, come to me, deadly sins. Raise your glass and let’s see who wins. I am my own God and I know it well, I forgive you father and I’ll see you in hell…” “This one’s called Taste the Lips.” Lariyah said, shortly after finishing the last song, as they kept things moving right along with another adrenaline pumping hard rock/metal song. Igz and Frankie had been adding some backing vocals periodically throughout those previous songs, but now Igz assumed more of the lead role on “Wicked World”. His voice was better than I was expecting, but the best part I thought was the way his voice intertwined with Lariyahs’ on this more co-sung track. “Rising Sign” was one of their most exhilarating songs of their set, and also featured one of the coolest and most memorable things I’ve ever seen a band do. Frankie and Igz took the center stage for some guitar solos, but they didn’t do it in the ordinary way. Each moved their guitar to their back, then each bent over, interlocking in a way. The way they did it, Frankie was facing the drum kit and Igz the crowd, and he played Frankie’s guitar like that, before they did a 180 so Frankie was facing the audience, doing a solo on Igzs’ guitar. Once they brought that song to an end, they did another from their EP, “Windy City Wild Child”, before concluding, I think, with “Last Alive” Or at least the crowd thought they were concluding the show. “Do y’all want to hear one more?!” Igz screamed, which was greeted with a good deal of fanfare, but the sound guy didn’t seem to approve. “Y’all need to make it quick.” He said. They did, and Igz screamed out the title of this last song, which was “Shark Attack”, and truly was the best way to end this memorable 36-minute long set.
I mentioned in my review of the previous night that one band put on the best overall show I saw down here in Austin, but Hessler by far put on the most vigorous performance. Like I said, they still managed to tear it up, despite the small stage, and there were even a few moments where Igz stood on a barrel that sit in front of the stage, rocking out a solo, and Lariyah did the same thing during another song.
Their stage presence and energy was out of this world and they were unrelenting with it. Definitely one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen.
The only thing with their set was I had a lot of trouble hearing the vocals, which were overpowered by all the instruments. I could understand bit and pieces, but I would have loved the show even more if they had really been audible.
Go, check out the band. You can find both of their albums and a single in ITUNES. Also, they will apparently be playing one day of Rocklahoma in Pryor, OK in late May. So if you plan on attending, check out Hessler. And for all their dates, go HERE.
Waterloo Records was the next stop, and getting there required walking several blocks west, arriving there about ten minutes after five.
Dawes was scheduled to start at five, and sure enough were already into their set. The parking lot outside of Waterloo was packed, though, and a spot with a good view of the stage was next to impossible to find, which resulted in not having a view of this Americana/Folk band.
“My Way Back Home” was the first song I heard them do, and was a good introduction to the band. I’d heard of them, but had never listened to their stuff before this, so I didn’t really know what they sounded like, but after hearing it, I loved it. They have the perfect Alt/Country/Americana/Folk sound, and Taylor Goldsmiths’ voice was built to sing it, as was demonstrated on their next song, “Someone Will”, from their newest album. They followed it with the final song from the “Nothing Is Wrong” album, “A Little Bit of Everything”, whose lyrics make you take pause and think about life, at least it did for me, and is one of the best story songs I’ve heard in a long time. “Fire Away” came next, and was unexpectedly the last song of their set, and upon finishing it Taylor apologized, simply saying they had evidently ran out of time. Thing was, he seemed as shocked as the fans were.
Especially after hearing them I was hoping for a little longer set than that, but what a taste this was. I’m definitely now a Dawes fan, and hopefully will be able to check out their show at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas on June 1st, as part of the KXT Summer Cut concert, which will feature a ton of other awesome bands, both national and local Dallas bands. Dawes will also be on tour in support of their new album, so check out their TOUR DATES for list of where they’ll be. You can also of course find all of their records in ITUNES.
Now it was time to make the hike back to downtown to start winding down this day…
(Check out the remaining post about my SXSW experience, which will be posted on April 19th.)
Austin may be the host city for SXSW, but how many cities host pre SXSW concerts? Not many. In fact, while a band might do a “SXSW Tour”, it’s only the three major music cities in North Texas that get to host a real pre show, just the day before the bands head down to the state capitol.
Well, this night The Prophet Bar in Dallas was hosting such a show, with several touring acts stopping through, while a couple local acts were on the bill to round it out.
Up first was a band from New York, Northern Faces, who sadly, I did not see. I just couldn’t get out there early enough (I think the show began a little after seven).
I heard great things however, and after listening to some stuff from their debut EP, “Southern Places”, they do sound pretty amazing. Really wish I had seen them, but hopefully they’ll get back through Dallas sometime before next year’s SXSW.
When I did arrive the second band, the McKinney based Lantic, was almost all set to play.
They didn’t do much for me. Their singer’s voice was pretty bland in my opinion, which was actually my chief complaint. On the positive side, though, the bands bassist, was nothing short of outstanding. He was the entire show and put on a spectacular performance, slapping the bass like a madman. He was far more energetic than his other band mates, and had my full attention for the duration of their set.
Following them was another touring act, this one from Lawrence, Kansas. They went by the unique name of Cowboy Indian Bear, and with a more offbeat name like that, I was curious about what my ears were about to hear.
With the opening number of their 36-minute set, they established themselves as being a tight quartet, often getting some ethereal harmonies going, which occasionally included keyboardist, Katlyn Conroy, bassist, Martinez Hillard, and drummer, Beau Bruns, joining singer and guitarist, CJ Calhoun, to create some beautiful music. After that song, they mentioned how glad they were to be back in Dallas and how much they like the city. A brief dialogue started between them and the crowd, and something was said prompting Martinez to ask what county they were in, and he planned to give it a shout out. “Dallas.” Someone said. “Seriously? This is Dallas county, named after the city? That’s cool…” he said, giving props to the county. That then led them to their next song and single from their upcoming “Live Old, Die Young” record, “Does Anybody See You Out?”. It’s a gorgeous little song, with a bit of a haunting quality to it, specifically on the bridge, “…I’ll grind you up and spit you out…”, which gets repeated for a good minute or so. By the end of that, I was fully captivated by the band, and they moved on to their next one, which CJ said was titled “Jennifer”. It has a very strong drum bed, something I don’t always pay much attention do, but it builds at steady rate, and truly is the backbone of the song. They followed it with another song, which I think might have come from their first album, “Each Other All the Time”, and afterwards prepared for their next song. They chatted with the crowd a lot during the downtime between songs, and now Katlyn said they hadn’t planned to talk this much, and rather focus on playing as many songs as possible. It worked out well, though, and made them come across as being pretty personable. They tackled a few more songs from their new album, like “Seventeen”, portions of which were sung by both CJ and Katlyn, whose voices mixed together marvelously. I believe it was “Let It Down” that they did next, before switching things up for their last song, which was more percussion based, and had CJ adding some extra beats on a tom.
Cowboy Indian Bear left me thoroughly impressed. They have a solid indie/rock sound, and the multiple harmonies add an entrancing layer to their music. I know that is becoming a big thing in music now, but they don’t sound like they’re doing simply to conform or “fit in”, rather like that’s the direction their evolution has taken them. And speaking of evolution, there is a huge difference between their first record and this new one. They sound much slicker and more polished now, and at one point in the show Katlyn mentioned that they’ve spent the last three years crafting “Live Old, Die Young”. It’s believable, too, ‘cause you can tell a lot of time and effort was put into writing those song.
And in regards to the harmonies, every member has a great voice and is more than capable of singing lead on their own, so combined they made the band a force to be reckoned with.
Their calendar is pretty empty at the moment, but they do have a gig lined up in Brooklyn, New York on May 2nd at Cameo Gallery. And be sure to check out their records in ITUNES. “Live Old, Die Young” won’t officially drop until April I believe, however they were selling advanced copies on this tour. It’s worth the money, trust me.
Baskery followed them, and the trio of sisters had flown here all the way from Stockholm, Sweden.
Their set up was pretty minimal compared to the other acts, with Greta Bondesson sitting at center stage, surrounded by a few basic pieces of a drum kit, like a small bass drum, a tom, and I believe a snare, while a tambourine was rigged to pedal she could step on to play it. Sunniva Bondesson stood over on stage left, guitar in hand, and Stella Bondesson used an instrument you don’t see a whole lot of, and upright bass. I’m pretty certain they opened with a song from their “New Friends” album, “Shame and Dance”. They finished it, and the applause from the crowd quickly started. Everyone seemed pretty taken by their style of folk rock, as well they should have. And I know that if I hadn’t already been in front of the stage, I would have felt compelled to move up there after that tune. They talked with the audience for a second afterwards, and I think it was Sunniva who asked, “…Where is you all?…” One of her sisters then had a little fun with the comment, correcting her, “It’s where are you people.” They deserve props though, ‘cause for English not to be their first language, they spoke it very well, and there was no real language barrier anyone, the audience or the band, had to get through. Even their accents, while noticeable, weren’t all that thick, and disappeared completely when they sang. Sunniva then switched out her acoustic guitar for an electric, as they got ready to do a newer song from their forthcoming album, “The Shadow”. They did another song from it, which they said was about a plane crash, and while on the subject of planes, they asked everyone if they were afraid a plane crashing into one of the buildings, which they had been talking about, marveling at how tall some of them were. “…It’s a miracle that they don’t…” Sunniva said, before they moved onto “The Big Flow”. For a trio that lacked the “traditional” full band set up, these girls had already delivered an intense show, and they stepped things up even more with another track off the “New Friends” album, “Throw a Bone”. The three voices intertwined beautifully with one another, often dancing around each other, with one singing the lead, and the other two adding the backing vocals, which were every bit as strong as the lead. Upon finishing it, they mentioned that they were on their way to SXSW, also pointing out that this was the first show they had ever done in Dallas, and they were glad they could play on a more obscure night and still have an audience to play to. They offered up another catchy new one with “The No No”, which they said was a little bit of “Swedish soul”, and sadly, that brought them to the final song they had in their 36-minute long set, but not before talking with the crowd a little more. They shouted the other bands, naming Exit 380. “…I think that’s the name of our hotel.” Sunniva said, cracking a joke that no one really seemed to get. She noticed this and pointed out that no one was getting their Swedish sense of humor. “…I’m saying we’re staying with the guys tonight…” she said. They also revealed they have that stereotypical idea of Texas, by saying that when they think of Dallas, they think cowboy hats. You can’t blame ‘em, even people in other parts of the U.S. think Texas is nothing but farmland where everyone rides horses around, but that couldn’t be more further from the truth. “…It’s good to see Dallas has its funky areas, too…” Greta said. They then set up their final song, which they said was about their hometown and called “Out-of-Towner”. Now I wouldn’t have minded hearing a lot more music from their “Fall Among Thieves” record, but out of all the songs on it, I’m glad that was the one they chose to play. They started it with an amazing soulful intro, which was a mix of harmonies and Sunniva passionately belting out a line from the song, all of which was done a cappella. They then fired up the guitar, banjo and bass and ripped into the song, bringing their set to a fiery finish.
What a show. I had listened to their music after seeing they were on this bill and instantly became a fan, and live they were everything I thought they would be and then some.
These sisters are a well oiled machine, and I’d bet that family bond helps make them a little tighter than most bands. Each one has a superb voice, yet they all sound similar enough to one another that it’s not some drastic change when they switch up who’s doing the singing. And despite the instruments being scaled back in comparison to other bands, I guarantee you that these ladies makes just as much noise as a five-piece rock outfit does.
Check out their older album, “Fall Among Thieves”, and be on the lookout for their new record sometime this year. After hearing a few of the cuts from it, I’m rather excited to hear the full thing. You can also find a list of all their upcoming shows on their OFFICIAL WEBSITE, and if you live in Europe, they may be coming to a town near you this May through August.
Closing out the night was the bigger name hometown act, Fort Worth’s, Exit 380. Sure, I had just seen the band a few weeks before this, but I don’t see them nearly as much as I would like, so I was looking forward to seeing them again. Plus, they had dusted off some of their more rock tunes at that other show, and this one was going to showcase the bands current country sound.
As usual, their set began with the lead track from the “Townies” record, “Run For The Gold”, whose lyrics conjure images of a time long gone. Before their next tune, vocalist, Dustin Blocker, mentioned how much he enjoyed playing with touring bands. “…It’s like I was saying earlier, these bands wouldn’t be driving all the way from New York, or even flying overseas, if they weren’t good…” he said. I had never really thought of it in that sense until he made that comment to me earlier when we were talking, but that’s a very valid point. And come to think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a bad touring act. Aaron Borden then started them into their next song, “Daddy Was A Freight Train”, by picking away at his lap steel guitar. Thus far it was just like the previous show I had seen, not that I’m complaining about that. I noticed the difference with the third song though, and I believe it was before that one that Blocker pointed out to everyone that they were going to be playing folk songs that told some little stories. He then busted out one of his harmonicas, playing it briefly, before he sang the opening line of “Little Trip” at the same instance that Jody McCauley came in on the drums. It was all done very precisely, making them out to be a very tight band, which they in fact are. Jeremy Hutchison switched out to an acoustic guitar for the next song, “Soul Burning Train”, and at the chorus, when it really takes off, it undeniable becomes one of the best songs in their arsenal. In the break between it and the next tune, Blocker talked about this odd Sunday night gig. “…Sunday night, who knew it was so much different from Saturday night…” he said. They moved on, and Jeremy busted out his mandolin for a few songs. The first was my absolute favorite newer song of theirs, “Missy Gardner”. “The old train depot was vacant of people. Their cars must have drove them away. But Sue is still standing with feet firmly planted, until my return she will stay…” Blocker softly sang on the more tranquil song. The lyrics are the best part of it, and while a lot of their songs do tell stories, I think it tells the best, or at least it’s the one I’m most drawn to. A track of theirs that was featured on a Hand Drawn Records compilation CD came next, but not after a little, shall we say, “mishap”. Aaron began his part on the electric guitar, but Blocker quickly pulled the plug on it all together, pointing out that he thought the guitar was in the wrong key. “…You can’t argue this…” he said, pointing at his harmonica, and even playing it again to make sure the guitar didn’t match up with. They tried it again after Aaron made some quick adjustments, and this time they were good to go on “A Song About Us”. “This next song is called Where Do We Go From Here?” Said Blocker, segueing them into another slower song, which still has a tight rhythm section supplied by Jon Hutchison on bass and Jody. While Jeremy swapped back to his electric guitar, Blocker brought up the fact that this was a school night, and made a remark that, that was something he hadn’t had to worry about in quite some time. He and Aaron then had a conversation, mostly off mic, but you could hear Blocker recalling his college days, then sounding like he was in disbelief that, that had already been about ten years ago. That banter gave the show a slight comedic element, even if that wasn’t the intention, and at least made me laugh a bit. At this point, it sounded like they switched the remaining two songs of their 40-minute set around, opting to do another one I was hoping for right then, and that was “Cajun Rock (A Violent Man)”. Live, it’s one of the more intense things they currently do, but it pales in comparison to an older gem of theirs that concluded their set. They went all electric for “Quid Pro Quo”, and even though the crowd had thinned out at this point, you could still feel the energy jump tenfold as they tore into the song, and it was an incredible note to end on.
As much as I liked the last show of theirs I saw, I missed hearing some of these folksy tunes, but I didn’t realize exactly how much until I heard them live this night. Sure, I like their rock stuff from years ago and would love to hear some of those back in the setlist one day, but all the songs on “Townies” make it one of the best albums Exit 380 has released over their nearly 14 year career. And even with the somewhat slower music, they still manage to keep their live shows rocking, and they should easily hold your interest.
So go ahead and check out their music for yourself in either ITUNES or BANDCAMP. The next few shows they have include a trip to Austin on April 27th, where they’ll perform at Maggie Mae’s. Then on May 11th they’ll be doing a hometown gig at The Wild Rooster in Fort Worth.
This was an incredible night of music, and those two touring acts I caught alone made it worth it, while Exit 380 was just the icing on the cake. In fact, this show was so great I chose to go to it over staying at home and watching The Walking Dead… That’s saying something.
Oh, and in just a few short days after this, I, too, would travel down to Austin to see what all the fuss about SXSW is about.
Deep Friday’s were an institution in Deep Ellum back in the day. At least from what I hear.
The premise was you pay one flat cover of five bucks and then you have access to several of the venues in the area. It was a true collaborative effort, which is exactly what the scene (and any scene in general) needs.
But when the area hit hard times in the late 2000’s and the droves of people stopped going down there, Deep Friday’s was no longer economical, and was on its way out about the same time I was really getting immersed in the local music community.
Luckily, traffic down there is on the rise, so this night, five venues, The Curtain Club/Liquid Lounge, The Boiler Room, Wit’s End and Reno’s Chop Shop participated in an experiment to try to bring back Deep Friday’s.
My night began at The Boiler Room, where I arrived around 8:20.
Originally, Lindby was scheduled to be the opening band, but I for whatever reason they evidently fell off the bill, and taking their place was another Fort Worth based band, Animal Spirit.
When I walked in the quartet was probably halfway through their set, and were doing something different, having all four of them play percussion on one song, with guitarist, Andrew Stroheker, and bassist, Joe Prankster, playing some smaller drums, and frontwoman, Sam Wuehermann, did the same. They went back to the normal setup afterwards, doing a few more songs in a very interesting style of indie rock, and personally I thought they were at their best when Sam and Andrew were co-singing, like on “The Planets a Lie”.
What little I saw I enjoyed, and they piqued my interest enough I’d like to see them again and experience a full set from them.
If you go to their REVERBNATION PAGE you can listen to a couple of their songs, as well as keep track of their upcoming shows.
After them was a band I had seen for the first time exactly one month before, and I was looking forward to seeing them again.
The band I speak of is The Bright, who won me over last month at The House of Blues. They quickly started setting their gear up, and this six-piece pop/rock outfit needed every single inch of the stage, and still looked a little cramped up there.
They opened their set with the lead track from the “Objects of my Affection” album, “Save the Night”. It really showed off their more poppy side with the heavy use of the keys, courtesy of Eric Jenkins, but is also offered a good dose of rock at times, and vocalist, Julie Lange, writhed around in perfect synch with some of the heavier drumbeats Robert Yahne cranked out. The seductive “Serpent” came next, and one of only two cuts they did from their 2008 debut record. In between the first few songs they tried to work out all the little kinks, like getting the levels in everyone’s monitors adjusted properly, while Julie made some small talk with the audience. When they were ready to roll again, they did “How I Feel”, then another upbeat pop number, “Over and Over”. Once they finished it, Julie mentioned they had a music video for it, which could be found on their Youtube channel, and she rattled off the link, which ended with the number “1”. One of the bands guitarists, Kell Curtis, was off mic, but you could hear a small part of the joke he made, saying something like the number in the link should have been “sixty nine”. Julie then announced the title of the next song, which was “Deep Fall”. “…It’s based on a true story of a painting.” She said right before Kell and fellow guitarist, Taylor Tatsch, started the tune. It was a highlight of their set, as it does an excellent job of showcasing Julies’ voice and the impressive range she is capable of. “10 Hearts” came next, and upon finishing it, Julie talked about they had so much fun dusting off an older song at their previous show, that they thought they’d do it one more time. It was supposed to be one of their final three songs, but then they found out they had enough time for only two. Julie was optimistic, though, saying something like, “…We’re gonna haul through these…”. I was glad they still decided to do “Cut Me Loose”, which made an impression on me last month, and again tonight it ended up being my favorite song of their set. It’s a superb song, and I really think/hope it makes a comeback to the current set. Afterwards, she admitted they probably only had time for one more song. “…On one hand there’s Charmed.” she said, which is their current single. Then added, “…On the other, there’s Kashmir.” It went up to vote, and not much noise was made for their original, making it a clear cut decision what they would play. Taylor, Kell, Robert and bassist, Miguel Fair, then tore into the Led Zeppelin classic. As odd a choice as it sounds, they actually do an incredible version of that song, and it was really the only way to conclude their 41-minute long set.
The Bring really something else, and they probably should have gone on later than what they did. After all, the showroom, while small, was still packed while they were performing. And not only did they have the fans out, but they commanded them well.
I’ll say it again, Julies’ voice is the most captivating aspect of their show. It’s remarkable, and the recordings on their records don’t quite do it justice. So basically I’m saying you need to experience it live. The instrumentalists are just as much an integral part of the show, though, with Miguel being a great bassist, and rocked out on the bass. Both Kell and Taylor are killer guitarists and add a lot of professionalism to the show.
Together, the six make a well-oiled machine, and are probably one of the most talented bands here in Dallas.
Check out both of their records in ITUNES, and keep an eye on their Facebook Page to see whenever they have another show coming up.
I could have spent the whole night here at The Boiler Room. I don’t know who the next band was, but The Raven Charter and In Memory of Man were going on later, both of whom are fantastic.
There were other bands I wanted to see more, though, so I made my way across the street to see what was going on at Wit’s End.
I thought Daylight Industries might be getting ready to go on, but they weren’t. So instead of watching them rock out, I chatted with them instead.
Before I Am Warbird started, I exited there, making my way over to main street, where The Curtain Club lies.
The place was PACKED. The patio was teeming with life, and once I finally got it in it was almost hard to even move around.
I was hoping I hadn’t missed Night Gallery, and sure enough, I was one of the guys getting their gear on stage, meaning it was just a matter of time before their first Dallas show of the year ensued.
The guys were waiting, and as the curtain opened on them, they launched into their first song. It would seem that the new year has brought with it a new setlist for the band, and they began with “Crazy Brave”. It was a fun way to open the show, but I also really liked the tone it set. “The cage is gone and now you run. I can’t control what I’ve become. You think you’re brave but now you see the crazy beast that you’ve set free…” Patrick “Otter” Gonzales roared on the chorus, as guitarists, Jeremy Root and Jan Mage, quickly slashed away at their axes. With the song, it was like they were sending the message that this was going to be a no holds barred show, and warning the audience to get ready for it. Duckie then wound them immediately into their next song, with Jan soon letting loose on the intro of their lead single, “My Friend Pretend”. Those two tracks proved to be a lethal combination, and by the time they had finished their second song, I was really feeling it. Sure, I’m a diehard fan who loves the music in the first place, but it was different than that. They had made an exceptionally strong push right out of the gate, and almost instantly had every last person by the balls. Otter then thanked everyone for coming out, and everything like that, before saying they were going to bring it down a little with their next song. It was “Without Regret”, and I still don’t know how slow the song really is, though it has some softer parts. Like the short guitar solo, which finds Otter “shushing” the crowd at the exact moment most of the instruments fall silent. Duckie again segued them from one song to the next, and Jeremy proceeded to strum away at his guitar, leading them into “The Tide”. And, like the title somewhat suggests, there’s a great ebb and flow to it. Otter made some more small talk with the fans, pointing out their merch booth, noting they had CDs for sale that had all these songs on them. They also sell anything else imaginable, like, “…midgets… dental dams…” and all sorts of other items. At least that’s what Otter says, and it always makes me laugh. They got back to it with one of their most rocking numbers, “Separation Anxiety”, and I swear I love that song more and more each time I hear it. Some more swift drumbeats then brought them right into “Mr. Ripper”. That was a sign their set was nearing the end, which I thought surely couldn’t be right. They also had a technical difficulty during that one. Otters’ mic suddenly cut out, turning a portion of the song into an instrumental track, as he kept singing into the mic, and doing everything he could to try to get it working again. Nothing worked, so eventually he grabbed the stage left mic, signaling to the sound guy to turn it up. It didn’t look as cool as his standard microphone, which resembles one Elvis used, but it worked just as well. That found them at their last song of the night, which came all too soon. In typical fashion, Duckie counted them into “The Signal”, in English for the first series of drum beats, then Spanish for the next, with Jan, Jeremy, and bassist, Mikey Auringer, letting loose some notes in perfect synch. The intro for the song is long, but worth the wait, as it’s the bands most aggressive song, and, as usual, served as a great closer. In fact, I felt some similarities between it and their first song, which I thought made each one a great “book end” so to speak.
Believe it or not, all that rock transpired in a mere 29-minutes, and in that short time they were able to pack in just as much rock as they do when they have nearly twice that much time.
Yeah, I hated that their set was cut short and there were a few fan favorites that they didn’t have time for, but still it was a stellar show. In fact, this was one of the best Night Gallery shows I’ve seen, second only to their CD release show last June.
They were all on top of their game this night, which I think further helped them make the most of their time on stage. Also, this was the first time I had seen the band with Jan as their guitarist, and only the second show he had done with the band.
He’s a skilled guitarist, which was obvious just by watching his playing, and there were a few songs he took some of the lines and started riffing, which made the songs sound even better than they already do.
If you haven’t seen a Night Gallery show yet, you’re really missing out. They put on one of the most fun live shows of any band here in the area, and you can’t argue the fact that they rock out with the best of them.
Pick up the bands album, “Loud As the Sun” in iTunes. Those songs have been staples for years now in their shows, but before long, you can expect them to unleash some brand spankin’ new music on their fans. The mere thought of that already has me excited. Also, they have one show on the books at the moment, and it’ll be over in Shreveport, LA at the Riverside Warehouse.
It’s hard to beat Night Gallery, but Early Pearl was poised to be every bit as good, if not even better.
It had been four long years since I last saw Early Pearl, with the group quietly going their separate ways in late 2009. No grand farewell show or anything, they just slipped away.
Then, last December, there was a reunion show (which I regrettable missed), and that show has led to the band getting back together.
So, to say I was excited about this would be a serious understatement.
As the curtain opened on them guitarists, Chris Jackson and Ryan Maynard, and bassist, Chris Ivey, cranked out some random notes, while Bobby Primm supplied the beats, and as that was going on, vocalist, Bishop Booker, slowly walked over to center stage. You could feel the excitement in the air.
Turns out, that even after four years, some things don’t change, like their opening song for instance. The random chords were suddenly whipped into “Get Out”, and Bishop belted out the first line of it, “You think you got me where you want me, my man. But I see right through all the shit that you spread…”. It was an electric opener, and certainly got my adrenaline pumping as I wondered what else they would they pull out. They had a couple more planned from their “This Is” record, one of which was “State of Affairs”, and during it, Jackson tore off on a blistering guitar solo, that lasted just long enough to add a great texture to the song, but not seem over the top. It wound down, but Jackson patched things right into their next song which was “Breakdown”, and honestly, I was a little surprised to hear it. By their standards, it’s a slower song, and saw Bishop doing some serious crooning, while Chris, Maynard and Jackson toned their playing down, before coming alive on each chorus. Jackson stole the show during it, though, and his passionate solo was the true essence of the song. During the break in between songs, Bishop mentioned how good it was to “be back home”. “…This was where it all started for Early Pearl…” he said, surveying the crowd, which included some on lookers in the upstairs area. Before their demise, they were working on a new record and had plenty of songs written, which had also found their way into the live set. Now, it was time for some of those tunes. There was only one I remember from back then, and that was “This Time Around”, which Bobby promptly started. It was as badass as I remembered it being, and is a rock song through and through. Unlike most rock songs, though, there’s a short line where Bishop pushes his voice into a fairly high falsetto range, and nails it. I believe it was “Hindsight” that they did afterwards. Regardless of what it was, it was a beast of a song, and Maynard and Jackson owned their parts, with the guitar notes being a beast in their own right. Before moving on with their next song, Bishop mentioned how this show was somewhat of an “accident” (originally, they were booked at another Dallas venue, before getting bumped in favor of a national touring band). “…That’s okay, I like accidents…” said Bishop, who again stated the bands love for the Curtain and how glad they were to be there. The catchy and semi melodic “Sooner Or Later” followed, and when they finished it up Bishop re-hydrated himself a little. “Hey Bishop, what’s with that water shit?!” a fan/friend yelled at him, as earlier he had said something to the effect that they’d drink whatever shots/drinks anyone wanted to buy them. “What’s with this water shit? It’s called it’s fucking hot as hell up here…” he retorted. Soon they burst into “Letting Go”, and around halfway through it he grabbed one of the water bottles he had, and threw much of the water onto the crowd, eventually tossing the bottle itself into the crowd. It only got better though, and after Bishop stood back to back with Chris, while he rocked out on his bass, he walked towards the front of the stage. “If I fall on y’all, will y’all catch me?” he asked, then turned around, back facing the audience, and fell onto the crowd of people. They caught him fine, but he didn’t get back on stage quite as gracefully. “Fuck it, I’ll sing the next song like this if I have to…” he said, right when as got back on stage. They launched into “Say It” right after that, which is their heaviest song, and also the one that’s probably most in your face. It finds Bishop screaming at times on the chorus, which he addressed once they finished it. “…I bet y’all didn’t know a black man could scream like that, did ya? Usually it’s only when I’m running from the cops, but that’s a different story…” he said, making a joke which I don’t think got all the laughs it deserved. They were down to just one last new song, and it was so new, no one outside the band had heard it until this night. “…I don’t even have a tile for it…” said Bishop, right before they started it. It was another hit, and it’s also one of the first songs that Maynard has got to put his touch on, since, as Bishop put it, “…He’s the new kid on the block…”. You wouldn’t know it by watching him, though, and was incredibly cohesive with his band mates for this to only be his second live show with them. It was time to start winding things down at this point, and the rock outfit had saved their best for last. I was starting to wonder if my favorite song of theirs would be played or not, and then Jackson began “Turn”. From the first time I listened to it on Myspace (yes, Myspace), I loved it, and it was the lyrics that really drew me in. Like this line from the chorus, “…Does it beseech you to know my face?” That made my night, but they had one song left in their 44-minute long set, and it would be the icing on the cake. It had been so long, I forgot they did a short prelude to “This Is”, helping set up what is the perfect closer, and even if the lyrics are meant in a different context in the song, the line, “…This is goodbye…” offers a good deal of finality to the performance. As it came to an end, Bishop stood at the helm of the stage and saluted everyone, before turning the salute into the rock sign, as he again thanked everyone for coming out.
They did encounter a few problems at the end, when the mic wouldn’t stay in properly, but Bishop worked through it, holding the mic so the cord was pressed in there tight. Aside from that, this was as solid and flawless a show as you could ever expect to see.
I never saw Early Pearl much back in the day, due mainly to age restrictions at some of the venues they played. Despite that, though, they were always one of my most favorite local bands, second only to The FEDS. And now I remember why.
Just like that other now long defunct band, Early Pearl packs an arena sized rock show into an intimate club setting. Seriously, you’ll be hard pressed to find a band that can outperform them, and is what’s truly remarkable is the fact that with only one show back in nearly four years, they’ve still retained “it”. And if they did get rusty in that time off, they did a damn fine job of polishing it up.
Even bringing a new member, Maynard, into the fold hasn’t affected them… At least not in any negative ways. It’s been over half a year since the last time I saw him shredding on the guitar, so it great seeing him back on a stage, and he really seems like a perfect fit for these guys.
Chris, Jackson and Bobby are the ideal musicians, both in skill and presence/showmanship on stage, while Bishop has the rare ability to command everyone’s attention without ever having to ask for it.
THIS is what a band is, or at least should be, and even though there’s a ton of talent here in the D/FW music scene, I’m glad a veteran band has decided to get back in the mix, because you just don’t see many bands of this caliber.
Now, for anyone who is unfamiliar with Early Pearl, but you want to listen to their stuff, you’re in luck. Their debut album, “This Is”, can be downloaded for FREE at their SOUNCLOUD PAGE. Not only that, but you’ll also find some live cuts of several of their new songs. Also, they’ll be doing another rock show on April 13th at The Boiler Room. Don’t miss it.
The House Harkonnen was the final band up at the Curtain, but I’ve never been a big fan of the bands more hardcore sound. I did consider sticking around to give them another chance, but I had gotten sick a couple days before this, and had expended what energy I had much earlier in the night, so I just decided to call it a night and go get some rest for my return trip to the Curtain the following night.
As for Deep Friday, from the fan perspective, I’d say it was total success. I loved seeing so many people down there (particularly at the Curtain). It gives you hope for the scene/community, and it’ll be nice to have Deep Friday’s back as a regular thing. Already for next month’s there’s talk about involving more of the venues (so long as no national touring bands are playing there), which could only make it better. Plus, next month’s (April 5th) will coincide with the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, which will have the streets packed even in the daylight hours. Yeah, the future is once again looking bright for Deep Ellum.
Six band bills are seldom seen at any venues, at least in these parts, yet for the second time this week The Curtain Club was hosting such a colossal show.
My only thing with having that many bands on a bill is it seems like too much and can almost be a sensory overload. I didn’t experience that, or the sense of the show dragging on this night though, because I barely saw the first two bands up.
Sunglasses and Sugar was the very first band and they hit the stage about 8:20. The first thing that caught my eye was the bass drum, which was emblazoned with the iconic Texas Longhorn, though it was colored a bright pink. That brought back a show I saw a couple of years ago when I happened to see a band by the name Sloan Automatic, who used that as their logo, but now the drum bore the name of Rob DeStefano’s current project, “Sunglasses and Sugar”. I guess that was a bit of a tangent, but enjoy that random piece of information. Anyway, I only heard their first song, which I personally thought was pretty good. Singer and rhythm guitarist, Darlington, had a good voice for the mix of indie/pop rock ‘n’ roll they did and their show seemed like it would be enjoyable.
Point is, you might like ‘em if you get the chance to see and or hear them, but talking over some business was far more important than seeing their full set.
“What kind of business ?” is probably what you’re wondering. Well, I’ll shamelessly plug it.
I’m fortunate enough to be a part of new music zine called On Tour Monthly. It’s a collaborative effort that will utilize several talented people, including companies like Hand Drawn Records, and is being spearheaded by photographer, James Villa. Check it out (i.e. like the FB page, visit the official site, etc.) and we should be launching it come April.
And just to clarify, On Tour Monthly won’t take away from what I’m doing as The Music Enthusiast, so the content on here won’t slow down at all.
Anyway, by the time we finished, the second band, Jonathan Jeter & The Revelators, were on deck, and almost done with their set.
I wasn’t expecting to see Brandon Callies pulling double duty, but he was one of the members of the trio, while Johnny Sillers rounded out the rhythm section.
I saw probably the last three songs they did, one of which was “Barfly”. To be honest, I wasn’t too keen on Jonathan Jeters’ voice at first. It was much deeper than what I expected, and there was somewhat of a gruff quality to it, which was what left me on the fence for a little while. I started warming up to it a little more with the second song I heard, and by the time they did their closer, “Voodoo Woman”, I had gotten into it.
There’s a real Americana sound to their music, a genre that is pulled off well with the unique sounding pipes Mr. Jeter has on him. And for the record, yes, his voice really grew on me during those few songs. I enjoyed it, and would certainly be up for seeing another show, or rather a full show, sometime down the road.
He also has an EP available, titled, “Late to My Own Funeral”.
So, I mentioned Brandon Callies was pulling double duty. Of course his stint as the bassist of the previous band was his first time on stage this night, and he didn’t get much downtime, as his outfit, The Brandon Callies Band, was next up.
Half of their 36-minute long set was new material of theirs, such as their opener. “This next song’s from the first EP.” Brandon said after finishing their first song, “It’s called Midnight Drive.” He finished, and began strumming his guitar, playing the first notes of it. It’s somewhat of a chill song, but don’t confuse that with slow, because the whole band really let loose on the chorus, with Chris Evans really picking up his drumming, turning it into a powerful number. Upon finishing it, Brandon mentioned that keyboard player, Jason Myers, was celebrating his birthday, and if anyone wanted to, they could buy him some drinks. That then led them to another new tune, which, if I heard correctly, was titled “Same Sunset”. Brandon started singing the first line, and was accompanied by bassist, Omarr Escoffie, and Jason, the three of whom harmonized beautifully. It’s really breathtaking and you can easily get lost it. At least until they really break into the song with all their instruments. It’s also cool too, because the Curtain Club is best known as a rock and hard rock venue, so to see a band that is so drastically different musically play this place, it just tears down the walls so to speak, and makes you realize any band of any genre can fit in here. They switched things up again with their next song, with Brandon saying it was one Chris sang lead on. That had to mean it was “The Gunner (Prelude)”. And sure enough, it was. The four musicians at the front of the stage, including lead guitarist, Charles Cohen, proceeded to rapidly clap their hands together, while Chris sang, “She’s got diamonds for her eyes and daggers for her hands…”. It was a little hard to hear him at first, but the mic levels were quickly adjusted to make him more audible. As the short song progressed, each musician went back to their instrument, with Charles being the first to stop clapping, and towards the end Brandon started to play some notes from his axe. He then wound them into the band into their next song, which was another new one. At one point during it, Charles shredded on his guitar, and he was either a little too intense with it or one of his strings was too worn, because one snapped. Eventually he grabbed the other guitar that was on stage, sitting in a stand behind Brandon. It’s a good thing they had that one. In setting up their next tune, Brandon made mention of the video they had done for it, since it is a single from “The Gunner” record. “…It’s called Who Are We to Say?” he said, which excited me, since it is my favorite song of theirs. A lot of their material have lyrics that you should pay attention to, but this song stands out as carrying the best message. It’s hopeful and uplifting, from the first line, “Just think of the day where kind words could take a gun from your hand…”, to the chorus, “We are watching now, for you to change the world we know. But who are we to say that we’re not leaving room to grow?…” Surely that one left the audience in a happier place than they were in before, but now it was back to some more rock music, as Chris transitioned them into an instrumental break. Everyone had their moment to shine during this short piece, especially Jason, who played some amazing, fiery notes on his keyboard before things suddenly gave way to “The Gunner”. They may be more of an alternative country band with hints of Americana, but the title track is primarily a rock song, and an intense one at that. It was a good thing they saved it for the end, because there was no topping that, at least not this night, while the final new tune they had brought the show to a fitting end.
I was even more impressed by these guys now than the first time I saw them. Part of that probably was due to the superior sound here at the Curtain over the other venue, but the show also seemed better, too.
I think they were more solid now, and I’ll bet they’ll only continue to get better… If that’s possible.
I know some people may be thinking, “I don’t like alternative country.” Well, give these guys a listen. I promise it’s better than what you might be thinking. Besides, Brandon spent many years with a rock band before this, and you can tell that previous experience is carried over to this band, at least to some extent.
You can purchase their full-length record, “The Gunner”, in ITUNES. They also have plenty of dates on the books, including; March 15th at Sugar Circus in Austin. The 16th will find them doing an afternoon show at The Blue Armadillo Winery in Greenville, TX, while that night they’ll be in Bossier City, LA at The Crow’s Nest. They have another SXSW gig in Austin on the 17th at Darwin’s. Then on the 30th they’ll be at Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar, also in Austin. They also have some dates for April, so check those out, too.
I had been looking forward to their show, but out of all the bands on this bill I was most excited about the one I haven’t seen too much lately, and that was Exit 380.
I can’t remember for sure, but I believe the first time I ever saw the band was here, back many moons ago. Actually, they hadn’t even playing their old stomping ground in about five years. And to make things even more special, their old drummer, Bobby “Shoes” Tucker was joining them for a one-off show. Yeah, this was gonna be good.
They got off to a slower start, with lead guitarist, Aaron Borden, playing a lap steel guitar, while Jeremy Hutchison used an acoustic. The song was “Run For The Gold”, and was one of only a handful of tunes they did from their most recent album, Townies”. It was much slower than anything else that had been played this night, but I liked the fact that the Exit 380 guys gradually eased everyone into their set, and got closer to full on rock mode with their next song, when Jeremy switched to an electric guitar. “…We call this one Daddy Was A Freight Train” said vocalist, Dustin Blocker, with his band mates promptly starting the song. By the end of it Bobby’s drumming got a little more aggressive, and Dustin, who was standing back by the drum riser shaking his tambourine, occasionally helped him out, hitting one of the cymbals with his tambourine, giving an extra jolt to the percussion. As it wound down, Aaron stood up, then exchanged his lap steel for an electric, and this is when the night really got good. They had promised older songs they hadn’t done in awhile, which had me wondering how far back they were going to go. It wasn’t five to seven years (though hearing material from that era would have been fantastic. Maybe one day). Instead, it was just a couple, but they dusted off some gems that have been neglected recently. One of those was “Street Trash View”, which Aaron tore right into. With it, they jumped right into full-blown rock ‘n’ roll, reminiscent of the older E380 sound, and personally, this was when I thought they were at their best. You could tell it was easier for bassist, Jon Hutchison, to get into, given the stronger rhythm section, making him just another dominant force in their live show. They followed it with another track from their 2010 EP, “Cities/Townies”, or, as Dustin put it, their “…aught ten…” record, “Caught In A Lie”. Honestly, I missed it when it happened, but upon finishing it, Aaron pointed out that Dustin had botched some of the lyrics. “Did I?” he asked, with a grin on his face. “…Oh, well these next lyrics are yours, so I’m definitely going to mess them up.” He told Aaron. While Aaron got his lap steel guitar ready, Dustin began the next song by softly playing his keyboard. “I awoke from a dream, to escape this soul burning train. A driver or a rider? Either way, it’s the coldest in the rain…” It’s an eerily beautiful prelude to the single off their most current record, “Soul Burning Train”, which, despite being a change of pace from their previous few songs, still held its own against them. Afterwards, Dustin mentioned Bob, and that they thought they’d invite him to rehearsals to see if he wanted to do this show with them. Blocker finished with, “…And he got there, and he was better than we were.” They then gave everyone one last dose of Alt/Country music with “Moonshiners Run”, before proving they had saved the best for last in their 35-minute set. Only two songs from the bands concept album, “The Life and Death of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Stone”, made an appearance, the first of which was “The Wrangler”. Then it was time for their final song, “Quid Pro Quo”. Five years or so ago I saw them here at the Curtain, that song was in its infancy stage, having been freshly written and only been played live a handful of times. Now, even after the bands reinvention of sorts, it’s still a staple. It was cool, because it took me back in time for a moment, reminding me of when I first heard the song, and that is just one of the many reasons that made that the highlight song of their set. It also left me craving more, and wishing they had more time.
It was an excellent set from these veteran rockers, and it was neat seeing Bobby “Shoes” back behind the drums, even if it was just a onetime appearance. I’d also fully believe Dustin’s comment about Bobby being better than they were. To have not played with them in well over a year, he made it seem like he had never left. His playing was very methodical and precise, like he’d been doing it forever.
That’s not to discount the other guys, though. Dustin still has one of the most unique voices I’ve heard, with a deeper register, and at times, it sounds somewhat operatic. Jeremy brings a lot of energy to the stage, which helps balance things out when Aaron is using his lap steel guitar, but when he’s not, like their final song for instance and the solo he has during it, it’s clear he’s in charge. While Jon has that certain swagger most bass players have, and rocks out the bass notes with a casual confidence.
They’re one of Dallas’s best, at least in my opinion, and their fourteen year carrier should be a testament to that. Give their music a listen if you haven’t already, and between BANDCAMP or ITUNES you can find the majority of their releases. And if you can, go see a show. They’ll be playing the Prophet Bar in Dallas this Sunday, March 10th. On the 15th they have a gig at The Doublewide, also in Dallas. The 23rd will find them up in Denton at Andy’s Bar. Then, on the 29th, they’ll be doing an acoustic show at the Liquid Lounge in Dallas. They also have a show in Austin booked for April 27th.
So, the night started off with a little rock, before taking a little detour through some country sounds, and now it was going back to the rock vibe. Not modern rock, though. No, it was more the classic rock sounds of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, courtesy of The Roomsounds.
The band has a dedicated following, and amassed a sizable crowd shortly before they started, all of which added to the excitement of seeing them,
The four-piece jumped right into their 38-minute long set with “Chasin’ a Fox”, which was one of many favorites they did from their debut album this night. The first note had several of the people moving, turning the floor of the Curtain Club into more of a dance space, which is something that doesn’t happen here too often. Afterwards, singer and rhythm guitarist, Ryan Michael, welcomed everyone to the show, and along with the band name, he also threw out the title of their next song, which was “Young and Reckless”. After that little anthem about being carefree, lead guitarist, Sam Janik, started them on one of their newer songs, which I can only assume is titled “Lay My Head Down”, since the phrase was repeated multiple times on each chorus. Around the halfway point of the song, the band took off on an instrumental break, some sweet guitar riffs and thick bass lines from Red Coker, but it was drummer, Dan Malone , who really shone, repeatedly hitting the hi-hat, almost turning the breakdown into a drum solo. “Honest Man” was another cut from their “We’re #1” record, and was another fiery number that had the crowd moving while Ryan crooned out the chorus, “Keep me honest, keep me true, never walk away when I’m talking to you. Look me in the eye, tell me I’m wrong. The cards are in your hands. I just want to die an honest man.” Afterwards, Dan embarked on a drum solo, and to me it seemed like it was geared to fill the silence. “…We’re feeling pretty good, so we’re gonna do another new song. If that’s okay?” Ryan asked the fans, who I think could have cared less what the band did, so long as they were still cranking out music. I believe it was called “Don’t Give Up On Me”, and following it up was the slightly slower, “Don’t Come Home”, which has a bit of the blues mixed in with soulful chords, which really drive the song. “This next song has been getting some airplay on 91.7…” said Ryan, as he set up their next song. (By the way, that is the local Dallas station, KXT.) It was their lead single, “Couldn’t Break My Spirit”, and the best part came at the end when they all cut loose and proceeded to shred. Red tore it up on the bass, with Sam and Ryan killing it on their guitars, while Dan furiously pounded out the beats, before they all brought it to an explosive finish. Some more drum work kept the show flowing while Ryan again briefly talked with the audience, and after doing another newer song of theirs, they found out they had enough time for one more song and had to cut things short. That meant they had to axe a few tunes everyone was wanting to hear, but they went with the one everyone would be happy with. That was “Ripper”, and with it came a full-blown assault of classic rock ‘n’ roll.
Even though they didn’t get to do everything they had planned, it was still a remarkable show, and out of the small handful of times I’ve seen the band, this one was definitely the best.
Very solid performance, and I liked the addition of the drums in between some of the songs, because it really kept the flow of the show going.
If you haven’t heard of them yet, then by all means go listen to and possible buy their debut record, “We’re #1”. If you like old school rock then you’ll love The Roomsounds, because their sound is similar enough to some bands to be paying homage to them, but they add their own flare to it all, making it stand out as being all their own.
Their next show is going to be on March 30th at The Prophet Bar as part of the second annual Deep Ellum Big Folkin’ Festival. After that they have a gig at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas as part of KXT’s Summer Cut Festival. They’ll be opening for acts like The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and many others.
The final act of the night was The Orange, who would take things more to the modern style of rock, and add a psychedelic vibe to it.
The instrumentalists, drummer, Cody Waits, guitarist, Kirk Livesay, bassist, Jason Jessup, and tambourine player, Tyler Spears, started their first. It sounded rather familiar, but the music bed sounded a little different, and it was only when vocalist, Scott Tucker, got on stage and started singing that I knew for sure it was “Teleprompters”. It had been way too long since I last heard that classic, which is also my favorite Orange song, and it sounded fantastic this night and was a brilliant opener. Now, when Scott took the stage, he appeared to be in rare form. That is to say, he seemed to be pretty inebriated. That was confirmed countless times throughout their set, like after that song when he went on a tangent, that was actually pretty spot on. “…We all work meaningless jobs we hate…” he said, “…But rock ‘n’ roll will free you…” he added. That lasted a minute or two as he spoke about shitty jobs that we’re all forced to work, but this was the weekend and it was time to cut loose and have a good time with The Orange. “This song’s called Such a Drag” Jason said, as they moved on. Scott chimed in then, adding his take on the title, “…Such a Mother Fucking Drag.” I’ll go ahead and say, and probably repeat by the end, but as faded as Scott was, the performance didn’t suffer in the least, and that tune sounded as good as it always does. Chicago Dan joined them for their next song, adding some sweet harmonica licks to the single from the bands forthcoming album, “Mr. Moneymaker”. Right in the middle of it, Scott broke a string on his guitar, but it seemed to go unnoticed, because upon finishing it, they moved on to “Valium”, sans Chicago Dan. “I Want a Girl” is another killer song the band has concocted, which is sure to go down as classic, but it wasn’t until they finished that song that the night got really interesting. At that point Scott had abandoned his guitar and didn’t use one for most of their remaining time on stage. According to their setlist, they were supposed to do “Doomsday…” now, but Scott had already announced to the crowd that they were doing “Blow Up”. One of the guys pointed out that wasn’t what was planned, to which Scott replied, “Fuck that! We’re in the mood to do Blow Up right now!” Yes, they were going off track, and really, what truly memorable rock show ever played out according to how the band had originally intended it to? Chicago Dan strode back on stage and they also enlisted the help of guitar virtuoso, Buddy Neighbors. The guy really is amazing, and he alone held my interest for most of the song as I watched his hands dance up and down the neck of the guitar, giving the song somewhat of a soulful sound. Scott again became the center of attention, though, and early on in the song he jumped off the stage and into the crowd for a moment. That wasn’t the best part, though. The best moment came at the end when he leapt onto Codys’ drum kit, causing a couple of the cymbals to topple over. He then laid there for a few seconds before getting up, and after chatting with the audience momentarily, they were ready to move on. Dan stuck around, adding his harmonica to the start of “Doomsday for Mr. Denton”, which gives it a western sound, before soon erupting into a real rocker with hints of psychedelic. Afterwards, they again strayed from the setlist, when Scott asked Cody if he was down do go ahead and do “Dead Nation”. Cody was. They totally switched things up, with Scott taking over drum duty, while Cody moved up to stage right and grabbed an acoustic guitar, while Buddy again joined them to add an extra layer to the music. Cody also sang lead on the song, which was a real change of pace from what they had been doing, but the whole song sounded beautiful. They followed it with another slower song, which only featured Cody (still playing the acoustic), Buddy, Dan and Scott. “This song’s called Holy Ghost.” Scott said, prompting Cody to ask if he had changed the name of the song, as it was called “Oh Lord”. “You know me, I’m always changing song names.” Scott replied while laughing. “Where’s that weird drum I play?” Scott then asked, looking around for it. “Aww, fuck it. I don’t feel like playing tonight anyway.” He said, and right then their stage hand brought it to him. They were then ready to play “Peace of Mind”, which was another more acoustic based song, and was one of my favorites of their set. Upon finishing it, Jason and Kirk rejoined them on stage, and for their final two songs, it was just the four core members of the group. Oh, and Scott was back serving as the rhythm guitarist for these last couple of songs. Their most epic songs had been saved for last, one of which was the largely instrumental, “Cityscape”. They bled it perfectly into the final song of their 74-minute long set, so well in fact, I wasn’t even sure when they began “Thirty Minutes to Midnight”. It was only when Scott started asking everyone to close their eyes and really listen to the music that I knew they had moved on to it. Both the transition and the song were flawless, and, like it usually is, it was an phenomenal note to end the show on.
There is no doubt about it that this WAS the most entertaining Orange show I’ve ever seen and it was also by far the best. Scott defied the odds and somehow managed to stay on the ball (and his feet) and delivered a performance like everyone has come to expect from him, only intensified. He really does deserve props for that, ‘cause a couple examples come to mind of other bands I’ve seen where a member has over indulged before the show, resulting in a sloppy, careless performance.
I also liked how Jason, Kirk, Cody and Tyler all rolled with it, laughing and shaking their heads when Scott jumped onto the drums, and just acted like they had done a thousand other shows like this.
It was an all around epic show, and if you missed it, then you missed what will probably go down as one of the most legendary Orange shows ever.
Right now the band is still working on their newest release, which is slated for release sometime this spring to possible summer. Based on the live versions of the songs, it’ll probably be one of the best releases of 2013.
The next chance to see them will be on March 26th at Trees in Dallas, when they will open for Soul Asylum. Also check out their first EP, “A Sonic Collection of Short Stories From La La Land”, on iTunes.
By the time they finished it was two in the morning and the Curtain was getting ready to close. It was a killer night for sure, I enjoyed the smorgasbord of music.
If you read my previous blog entry, then you might recall I said that, that show was a bit eclectic. While it was, it has nothing on the show that went down at Tomcats West this night.
Yeah, I made a VERY rare trip over to Fort Worth. Nothing against the city, but living north of Dallas means that logistically it’s just not convenient to get to. An exception was made for this show, though, which featured two of my favorite area acts.
The first act of the night was an acoustic duo by the name, Myrick. I believe that was the last name of the singer of the group, who played an acoustic guitar and was accompanied by another acoustic guitarist (or maybe it was a bassist. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention.)
With incredible subpar vocals, I quickly lost interest. Their set at least seemed to go by quickly, but by far the worst part of it was the end when he did a parody of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. Obviously, it was set to the same tune, though he called his parody, “Don’t Cum In My Eye”. Evidently I’m still juvenile enough to find a bit of humor in that (and by “bit”, I mean a VERY minuscule amount), but no amount of humor could save it. It only lasted about a minute, before he abruptly stopped and said, “That’s it…”, then walked off stage. Oh, wait, I think I get why he only needed a minute to do the song now…
Meridian was the first actual band of the night, though they, or specifically vocalist, Tim Ziegler, looked a little different. He was without his long hair and beard, and was almost unrecognizable at first glance, looking more like he did when I first met him nearly seven years ago, when he fronted the band Darby.
“Re-digress” kicked off their 38-minute long set. Somehow, I didn’t notice right away when it happened, and then all of sudden I realized guitarists, Mark Sims and Shannon Nedved, drummer, Joe Maurer, and Tim were the only guys on stage. They handled it well, and didn’t act like they were down a band mate, finishing the song strong, and then Tim asked what was up with Chris Gentry. Apparently, he had broken the main string on his bass, which was what left him incapacitated for most of that song, and even a few minutes after. That meant Tim had to make some small talk, and he first mentioned they had played here a several months before and that they’d like to get back a little more often. That was about all the topics he had prepared. “…Chris, hurry up. This is getting uncomfortable for me…” he said, succeeding at being funny and sounding nervous. Chris finally rejoined them, having borrowed a bass from one of the other bands. They were then able to move on, and began one of their most rocking numbers, “All Hands”. They followed it with one of their newest songs, and afterwards took a momentary pause where Tim killed some time. “Listen, I don’t want anyone here tagging me in any shit…” he said. He proceeded to say that he was technically at work, and had taking time off to perform this show, meaning he couldn’t be drinking, and he didn’t want any photos to make it look otherwise. So, once that was cleared up, they tore into “Nights Like This”, which was pretty flawless, except toward the end, when Chris again had to leave with some bass issues. “…We lost our bassist again…” Tim said when the song was over. Mark said something, to which Tim responded, “Oh yeah, we don’t need him for the first part of this next song.” The current four piece then started “Starts and Ends”. “You told them all just what they can do. You got the shortest part of the straw you drew… I draw the curtain back and you take a bow. Did I catch you off guard or get it right somehow?…” sang Tim on the first verse. This was the first time I’ve seen them since getting their new EP, meaning this was the first time I really knew that song since they rewrote it over a year ago. I had missed singing along to that one more than I had realized, and it still stands out as my favorite Meridian song. Chris once again got back on stage pretty early on in that one, and stuck around for another newer song, “Lazy Eye”, which has a more dominant rhythm section. Tim couldn’t go without poking fun of the situation, and told Chris he might be getting a pink slip the next day, then said they might be in the market for a new bass player. Chris didn’t have a verbal retort to that, though he did act like he was about knee Tim right in the crotch. “Train” brought things down a few notches and perfectly showcases the bands softer side, as it is a beauty of a tune, but is still something you can easily rock out to. Tim announced they had one last song, a Mark played the first notes of “Hey Lover”, before Joe busted in on the drums, really getting it underway.
It was far from a perfect show, but Chris deserves some major props for doing the best he could in an unlikely situation. When he was on stage, he gave it his all as usual. It was just an unfortunate circumstance, and really, how many times have you seen a bass player break a string? I’ve seen nearly five hundred concerts over the years, and I can only recall one band who suffered from a broken bass string while performing.
Plus, Shannon and Mark put on a thoroughly entertaining show by themselves, so they were able to draw attention away from everything, and Tim is still one of the best singers and performers I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Point is, in the end it worked out alright.
Give their debut, self-titled EP a listen, and if you like it, then buy it in ITUNES. And while they don’t have anything scheduled right now, keep an eye on their REVERBNATION PAGE, because they’ll most likely be doing a show sometime within the next couple of months.
A band by the name of Silhouette was next up, and they brought the people, which I took as a positive sign. I mean, if a band can pull fifty plus people, they have to be good, right? The answer is yes… But not to everybody.
I don’t know what the whole deal was, but this was billed as their “comeback show”, and from hearing them talk, it seemed like the band had been almost completely reformed since they last played. I don’t know what they were like before, but now, they were a very hardcore metal act. My interest was lost immediately, especially because their first song was lyrically rapped, in the vein of Linkin Park. If that’s what works for them, okay, but I felt it seemed like they were stuck in a time warp. I mean, that’s been done, many times over at that. Luckily, all their music didn’t sound like that, but with all the screaming, I couldn’t even pretend to like them.
Their set dragged on, and I was relieved when they finally finished.
I mentioned this was an odd billing of bands, and here is where it got really interesting. There are a couple of genres that could pull off playing after a hardcore metal band, like a hardrock outfit, or maybe even a rock group, but Paco Estrada and his band are neither of those. In fact, they’re the polar opposite.
Paco’s backing band looked mostly the same as the last time I had seen him, with Scotty Isaacs manning the keyboard/piano, and there was still a drummer, Irish, whose drum kit was fairly small, consisting mainly of a few toms and a snare. But then you had Joel Bailey, who has been added as the bassist. Along with Pacos’ acoustic guitar, it makes for some lovely music, but a type that quickly pushed all the metal heads out the door.
A lot of Paco’s newer stuff is making it into his sets these days, like the opener, “American Girls”. Over the last decade or so, Paco has written some real gems in all the various bands he’s played with, but that one is by far one of the best. There’s a certain amount of nostalgia the song conveys, while it bears more of a folk sound. I believe they followed it with another new song, though Paco has been known to play some covers too, so it could go either way. Next, I know for sure they did a cover song, doing a more minimalist rendition of The Cars, “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?”. They do a mean cover of it, and put a pretty unique spin on a classic song. They ran through a couple more, with the first of those two really sticking out to me. I don’t think it was a cover, though it sounded like it could pass as one. I mean that as a compliment, because if it wasn’t, then it sounded authentic enough that it could have been written by one of the greats. As usual, some of Paco’s fan favorites had been saved for last, and he began to pluck away at the strings on his guitar, leading into “Breaking Down”. “You grab your shovel and your digging axe, ‘cause you have to be the first in line to bury the past. You put a smile on and try to believe it, but I know how much it hurts you to leave it…” he crooned. This is also one he’s known for adding portions of cover songs to, one of the best of which I’ve always thought was a Peter Gabriel song he used to tack on, but tonight, I think I found a new favorite. After one of the later choruses from his original, Paco belted out the chorus of U2’s “One”, “…You say, one love, one life when it’s one need in the night. One love, we get to share it, leaves you baby if you don’t care for it…” There’s always a deep passion in Pacos’ voice when he sings, but it seemed magnified on this song. It bleed out onto his voice, especially on the line, “…You say love is a temple, love a higher law. Love is a temple, love the higher law. You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl. And I can’t be holding’ on to what you got, when all you got is hurt…” as well as the chorus that followed. I was awestruck. That was one of the most amazing cover songs I have ever heard, and I know this may sound like sacrilege, but while I have never seen U2 live, I can’t imagine Bono could make his own song connect with and touch the audience the way Paco did this night. It didn’t seem like they had been up there anytime, but already they had arrived at the final song of their 38-minute long set, “Haunting Me”, which featured pieces of another cover song, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston.
Paco’s music has gone through a lot of changes over the years, from playing with rock bands, to spending some time as a solo artist, but hopefully this latest band of his will stick around for a little while. Together they make what is probably the most unique sounding band Paco has had since One Love, and it’s different than most any other type of music out there. It’s gorgeous, and will most likely take your breath away.
Paco has a ton of records from his past, most of which can be bought via BANDCAMP. As for shows, I know he has one coming up on Saturday, March 2nd, where he will play at his old Dallas stomping grounds, The Curtain Club.
After a strange musical combination like that, going from a metal band to a very chill mostly acoustic act, it only made sense to wrap up the night with one final rock band, which was Awake in Theory.
Terry Kimmel began the band show with some hypnotic chords on his guitar, while he walked around the stage. After a minute, Eric Hawkens, who was out of sight, started singing, and eventually made his way on stage from stage left. Soon after was when their first song, “Barely Breathing”, really took off, as drummer, Raymond Chambers, bassist Adam Garcia, and the rhythm guitarist, Brad McCain, joined in. The song is fantastic and one of my favorites of theirs. It also works as a great opener, easing you into it with its slower start, and before you know it, they’ve hooked you. They proceeded to reel everyone in with songs like “Let Go” and “Playing the Victim”, but unfortunately, “everyone” wasn’t as many people as they deserved to have watching them. Like I said, the metal heads had left during the previous act, and now it looked like the only people who were still there were ones who were already Awake in Theory fans. Eric pointed out that, that wasn’t a problem with them, though. “…We’re just happy to play music…” he said, “…Especially when we get to play after Paco Estrada…” he added. They got back to the show with “Dangerous”, a song that saw Brad tear off into a killer guitar solo. Raymond pounded out a brief drum solo before their next song, “Innocence for the Innocent”, followed by their anthem of sorts for anyone serving in the military, “Hero You Hate”. Before starting it, Eric asked everyone to thank anyone they knew who was in the service, and then he mentioned something else. “…For anyone whose seen an Awake in Theory show recently, you know my brother was deployed.” He said. “Well, he’s home now…” You could tell he was excited and relieved by that, and for good reason. That tune is another highlight of their shows in my opinion, and once it was done, they cut loose a bit. Eric mentioned that they come from all over the area, like Frisco. “…He’s from Bowie…” he said, pointing at one of his band mates, quickly following it with something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, it’s not nice to say anyone’s from Bowie.” That got a laugh from all of their fans who had stuck around. Topic of conversation then switched to Raymond, who drives down to all of their shows from Lawton, Oklahoma, and Eric jokingly said he was the one they needed to work on and get to move here. I believe it was this next and final song that they said they would be recording soon, with work on an actually record to follow shortly after. It was “Daddy’s Little Girl”, which will serve as their lead single, and it capped off their 36-minute long set.
It was a great set, and personally, I thought they were better this night than a couple weeks before when I saw them in Dallas. They didn’t let the lack of a crowd affect them, instead putting on a show like they were playing in front of forty to fifty people, like any professional band should.
They were fun and lively, with everybody carrying their own weight. Adam really brought it this night, and owned it on the bass, while Terry and Brad also often stepped up to the forefront of the stage, taking over the spotlight and shredding on their guitars. It was just very well balanced, and also, they know how to work the audience and get everyone excited.
Their next show is going to be at Trees on Sunday, March 24th, where they will open for Adrenaline Mob and Nothing More. It will probably be at least one of the biggest shows they’ve done to date, and I’ll be willing to bet they’ll be even more intense than usually at that one.
They offered a great way to end the night, and despite me not really caring for a couple of the acts on the bill, this show was still well worth the drive to Fort Worth.
At this point it had been just barely over two weeks since the last concert I saw, and I was in desperate need of a fix.
There were a couple shows going on, and I opted for the one at my favorite Deep Ellum haunt, the Curtain Club.
Gorilla Productions was putting on a show here, which had spanned most of the day, beginning at five that afternoon, but of course most of the better acts had been saved for later in the night, such as The Bedlam Brothers, which was the band I was most interested in.
When I first arrived, there was a rapper on stage, and poor one at that. Granted, I’m not at all a fan of that genre, but I can at least be objective and admit when someone has talent, regardless of my personal opinions. But I found this guy to be just plain bad.
A trio called The Ones You Loved took the stage next, consisting of husband and wife duo, Tyler and Camille De Larm, plus one. Tyler was the guitarist and lead singer, while Camille played the keys and offered some backing vocals, and rounding out the lineup was a bassist.
They did look a little out of place in this venue that primarily hosts rock bands, but hey, you should never judge a book by its cover. But of course it’s okay to judge it by its contents, and in this case, the “contents” were less than stellar.
Tyler has no real vocal talent, and about all he could muster was a whiney singing voice that was far from appealing to me. I wasn’t too crazy about the music either, which was dominated by the keys/synthesizers, and I guess could be called electro-pop. Luckily their set was short, only about five or six songs, and despite some of their fans asking for more, time did not permit for it.
I have to give them credit, though, because despite my opinions about them, they did put on as energetic a show as they knew how. I believe it was before their second tune that Tyler encouraged everyone to dance to, “…But no one will be dancing more than men.” He stated. Camille did her part, too, and was often jumping up and down while banging on the keys.
I return to what I first said about them seeming out of place, and there were some times during their set that to me seemed a bit awkward, and oddly enough, that ended up being a rather endearing quality for The Ones You Loved.
Okay, I didn’t like them all that much, but maybe you will. They have a couple of records available in iTunes, if you’d like to give them a listen.
Up next was the Austin trio, The Bedlam Brothers, who were the main reason I was out this night.
The intro that began their set helped give the impression that they were the most professional band of the night. The sample track was rather beautiful, and soon after it started, Ben Buono, who was the groups fill-in drummer for the night, made his way on stage and got behind the kit, where he proceeded to pound out some beats. Eventually, Craig McLaughlin rounded out the rhythm section, adding some nice bass riffs to the mix, but things really sprang to life when singer and guitarist, Nick Santa Maria, started playing some notes and ran out on stage. They launched into a 42-minute long set, starting with a couple newer songs of theirs (Note: I don’t know how “new” they actually are, but they are that are yet to be released.) During the second song, Nick was rocking out so much that he knocked the cord of his guitar, as it suddenly fell silent. He didn’t seem to worried by it, though, and just shrugged before picking it up and plugging it back in, then got right back to business. In between songs, they were often conversion with the crowd, which was pretty decent sized, and at this point formally announced who they were and where they hailed from. “…But we call Dallas home…” Nick said, stating that they all come from the area, and have a lot of friends and family up here, who were obviously out to support them. The next song, “Not Enough”, might have made Ben feel a little nostalgic, as it was one he and Nick had done in their previous band, Skylines, but has been tweaked since, and now mines the Southern Rock genre. One thing was for sure, though, Ben appeared more happy on that one than any other this night, which is saying a lot, because he was always sporting a smile. They tackled a newer song next, which Nick mentioned they had debuted at their last Dallas gig, before asking the audience if they’d help out. The song was titled “Mary Rose”, and he belted out the name of this fictitious girl a few times before they began the song, coaching the crowd on what to say after that. It was simple, but only a few people joined in shouting out, “Mary was a tortured soul!” It’s one of the tracks that will be on their forthcoming album, and I have to say, I was blown away by it. It’s on a whole new level than some of their other stuff, and is really amazing. Afterwards, they plugged their little merch table, which had quite a few free download cards as well as some wristbands that had both the band’s name and album title on them. “…It’s over yonder…” said Craig, when pointing fans in the general direction. That got Nick’s attention. “…I’ve known you for almost ten years, and I’ve never heard you say the word, “yonder.” He said, looking a bit baffled. That made for a humorous little interlude, before they tore back into another song, which I believe was called “First Time”. Also, and I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was also around this point where they did their catchy song, “240 Miles”. Anyway, after one of those songs, Nick started having some slight technical difficulties, then asked for a light on the stage. “…I feel like a jackass…” he said, saying he had misplaced his capo and had to look for it. “…I always lose my stuff. It’s something my mom’s been trying to fix for almost twenty-four years…” he said, laughing, and added he didn’t think it would ever change. He needed that capo for another new one, which was also the one they were offering a free download of. It was “We Ride Tonight”, and also required some participation from the fans. It’s a stellar song, with some killer guitar riffs, and ended up being the highlight of their set. They had a couple left at this point, and after one, “Save Me”, Nick mentioned that he and Craig had first played the Curtain when they were about fifteen. “…We thought we were good…” he said. Then noted that more of their friends seemed to stick around for them once they were of age to drink, proving drinks really do make bands sound better… At least maybe to some people. That led them to the final song of the night, which Nick pointed out was the first song he and Craig started working on when The Bedlam Brothers were first conceived. It was a classic from Nick’s song catalog, and one that I don’t think reached its full potential until this band. It was “My 9 to 5”, and is still an excellent way to cap a show off.
I had finally seen The Bedlam Brothers for the first time nearly three months ago, and in that time, they’ve really improved.
I was impressed before, but tonight I was just blown away. They polished things up, and their stage show was much more tight and all around better. Part of that could be attributed to the larger stage of the Curtain Club, verses the more intimate Liquid Lounge, which allowed both Craig and Nick to be more active. Then you have Ben, who was a great addition to the group, even if it was just a onetime thing, and had some chemistry with the others, too. Oh, and those new songs they cranked out are something else, and if they are any indicator, then their “Saddle Up” record is going to be a must listen.
Speaking of that, they’ll be right back here at the Curtain on March 8th to celebrate the release of said album. It’s probably going to be an night not to forget, so don’t miss out on it.
The Unlikely Candidates were on next. They’ve been around for a little while, 2008 to be exact, and while I’ve often heard the name, I had never seen them or listened to their stuff… And after seeing their set, I’m really regretting that.
Their an Indie Rock/Pop band, whose songs are pretty infectious, and about halfway through their opener I felt myself drawn towards the front of the stage. They kept things pretty short and sweet, bouncing from one song to the next, which vocalist, Kyle, said was “Hate to Love Me”. After another, they did what was arguably the best song of their all too short 28-minute long set, “Follow My Feet”. It’s got the hook, and had a few people dancing along to it while they sang along. To set up their next song, Kyle asked if there was anyone who was a fan of The Strokes, and more than a few people cheered at that. “Oh, well good. The you might find this cover somewhat enjoyable…” he said. He pointed out that not only are they his favorite band, but this was his favorite song of theirs. The track was “Someday”, and they did an absolutely amazing rendition of it. Possible even better than The Strokes themselves. I believe it was after that they did what Kyle said was their most philosophical song. At this point I don’t remember all the different layers he said it covered, as he described it all in pretty deep detail, but I think he began with something like it was about how insignificant one can feel when looking up and seeing all the stars. They had only one more after finishing it, and then that was their show.
I was a little disappointed, not by the band, but because I was enjoying their music so much I wanted them to play much longer.
It was still a great set, though, and I love their sound. Along with the typical guitar, bass and drums, they also had an acoustic guitar player. Now a lot of times, an acoustic can be drowned out by the louder, more dominate instruments, which was what I thought would happen with them. Not the case. Instead, it came through rather well, and added a gorgeous texture to all of their songs.
They have a show coming up in February 2nd at The Door in Dallas, and supposedly you should also be able to see them back at the Curtain on March 8th, for The Bedlam Brothers CD release show.
There was one last band scheduled at the Curtain Club, but I didn’t stick around for them. Instead, I crossed the patio over to the Liquid Lounge, where Denton’s own, The Gypsy Bravado was headlining.
I had actually seen the group once before, a little over two years ago. And while I had wanted to see them since, it just never worked out. And I wondered how good this show would be, because I heard from a friend, photographer, Jessy Huff, that the band had been drinking all day. That meant the show could go either way.
To say they were drunk would be an understatement, and even though I was standing pretty far back, you could tell from their eyes that they were beyond wasted.
Now, I have seen another band where at least one of their members was pretty far gone at one show, and it turned out to be one of the funniest and best shows I’ve seen said group do. But there’s a fine line between being a entertaining drunk and a sloppy one, and I was curious which side The Gypsy Bravado would come down on this night.
They opened with a very soulful song, that found keyboard player and primary singer, Mo Myles, guitarist, Shawn Bratton, and bassist, Jeff Dacus, all singing and harmonizing. It was an extraordinary number, and the way their voices intertwined with each other was dazzling. It also became immediately clear that whatever their state of inebriation, their music wasn’t going to suffer. In fact, I think it had the total opposite effect and made it sound even better. After another newer song of theirs, Mo announced to anyone who didn’t know it, that they had “…Been drinking all day…”. He didn’t hang on the subject long, though, and soon said they were going to play “What I Need”. It was a groovy one (that’s not an outdated term to use, is it?) with a sweet guitar solo/breakdown, which was perfectly balanced with some fiery parts on the keys. They did something a little different with their next song, and welcomed a friend of theirs on stage, who also happened to be a rapper (my apologies, as I don’t recall his name.) He walked up on stage with them. “I have something to tell you all.” He said, though it was barely audible, as the main mic had stopped working. It took them a minute, but they got the cable plugged back into it, and their friend revealed his words of wisdom. “…Always make sure the mic is plugged in.” he said, laughing. I was skeptical at first, because I’m not a big fan of how he was undoubtedly going to sing, or rather rhyme, but it turned out to be fairly good. He was talented in his chosen craft, as he busted out the lines of “California Zone”, and towards the end he even seemed to be free styling it, and doing a great job of it at that. He left them once it was finished, allowing the group to return to their Rock ‘n’ Roll jams, which included what seemed like the longest song of their set, “Mountain Tops”. It had a couple different layers to it, starting a bit slower, before working its way into a powerful song. And while it did seem pretty long, it didn’t drag. Possibly the funniest thing of their set was the fact that you could often hear them asking one another what song they wanted to do next. I mean, that happened at least every other song, and they’d quickly discuss. So next up, they opted for a new one. “It was written back in 1979” said one of the guys, possibly Jeff. They had been going for awhile at this point, and they stopped to ask the sound guy how much time they had left. His response, “One long one or two short ones.” Jeff was ready to do a couple more, but then drummer, Lou Anderson, spoke up. “Fuck it! Let’s do a long one!”here was no argument or anything, instead they just went with it and did a song from their “Through the Rabbit Hole” EP, “Dillinger (Rebel Son)”. It was another great example of how epic their music is, beginning with somewhat of a dreamy quality to it, before the drumbeats helped it explode into something you could really rock out to, and was rounded out with both a bass and guitar solo. That might not sound like it was a very long set, but in all it totaled 45-minutes.
I really don’t remember much from the other time I saw these guys, other than thinking they were alright. They were from alright this night, though… In a good way.
Granted, I don’t know what is par for these guys, but they seemed to be in rare form this night. And not only is the stage show pretty entertaining, but they also allow the music to speak for itself, and it will not doubt reel you in.
Check ‘em out, because regardless of your preference in music, chances are The Gypsy Bravado has at least one song that will appeal to you. And speaking of that, hopefully they’ll get some of those record in the near future.
In the meantime, you can get their EP in ITUNES, and even get a couple of FREE downloads from their REVERBNATION PAGE. They also have a show lined up for February 1st at Hailey’s up in Denton.
This was a pretty good night. I saw one band I like and became even more of a fan of theirs, and then got pulled in by a couple of others who I knew nothing or very little about beforehand. That’s a win in my opinion… At least it was until my car broke down on the drive home. But that’s another story.
The Curtain Club was hosting an all-star lineup this night, culminating with Moving Atlas getting a plaque to hang on the “Wall of Fame”.
That alone made it worth going to the show, but on top of that they had, as usual, assembled some talented bands to perform before and after them.
The first one up was The Results, who I did not see all of, as I didn’t get there quite early enough. Still, I caught the last 20-minutes or so of their performance.
I enjoyed what I saw, and they had some pretty good rock songs, like “Change the World”. They really excelled in the live performance aspect, though, delivering a pretty tight and high-energy performance.
It was a good start to the night, but it was after them when things got real serious, starting with In Memory of Man.
The bands been hard at work making new music, which seemed to dominate their 41-minute set this night, including their opening number. Thankfully, they still had some of the, shall we say, hits, from their first EP in the mix, like “Headshot”, which drummer, Javier Martinez, counted them into. The fast paced, in-your-face song definitely got the adrenaline flowing, and if anyone wasn’t already giving In Memory of Man their full attention, then that should was probably the song that got them fully captivated. It was also the song that made vocalist, Alex Lilly, sweat profusely, and he was asking anyone to get him some water. Someone then laughed that, that was all he was requesting, then he added, “…Or, you know, some other beverage.” “This next one’s called Don’t Tell Daddy.” He stated, before being told by lead guitarist, Chad Beck, they weren’t doing it, at least not right then. It was something better, though. “You all know this one…” he said, as Javier began yet another song. “Paper Planes” may be a slower one, but it’s also their most beautiful, and the very distinct and unique tone Alexs’ voice has shines through the best on it. After a couple more newer (or at least unrecorded) songs, they unveiled a nice little surprise. “…This is what started it all…” said Alex, right before the band tore into the song. Honestly, I didn’t know it, but when it was over Alex mentioned it was by Soundgarden, “…For all you young kids…” he added. No, I don’t know what exact song it was, but regardless, they did a pretty killer rendition of it. They took a little break at this point, as Alex thanked Moving Atlas and the other bands for putting this show together, and also mentioned how cool it was to be sharing a stage with Pete Thomas, singer of the band that would follow them, and perhaps best known as the frontman of Slow Roosevelt. He made a little speech about how way back when (I assume late 90’s or so) he started out as a fan of the music scene, and of the mighty Mr. Thomas, “…But eventually, we became the scene…” he said. After another new tune, they decided to end with “My Sweet”. That would have been a good way to close out the set, but luckily, they had a little more time then they realized, and proceeded to hash out what to play next. “How about Cause It Can?” Alex asked, “Cause we can!” And that final track from “The Reckoning” EP proved to be a fantastic end to the show.
Now, there were some technical issues early on, and for a couple minutes during a few songs Chad’s guitar couldn’t be heard. Though the remaining band members helped balance it out, so it didn’t subtract from the show too much. I’ll also say that the band was out of the performing game for quite some time. Due to the bands members conflicting schedules they couldn’t play much for awhile, and are just now really getting back into the swing of things. That said, this wasn’t as memorable as say, their CD release show a few years ago, which was an astounding show, but is was pretty enjoyable. I bet after they get a few more shows under their belt, they’ll be back to perfection, and then there just may be no stopping these guys.
They have two EP’s currently available, and you can get free downloads of both by visiting their SOUNDCLOUD PAGE. And keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE to see when they will have more upcoming shows.
White Elephant was up next, Will Jaeger let loose on the drums, all before the curtain even opened. It was appropriate beginning, seeing as this would be his final time as the percussionist of this heavy rock outfit. Once you could see him, he appeared to be as happy as ever, and he continued with the beats as his band mates got ready. They didn’t dilly-dally, and delivered a punch to the gut with their opener, “Another Rapture Missed”. It had been quite some time since I last saw these guys, and I had forgotten what a beast this song is in its live form, as vocalist, Pete Thomas, belted out the lyrics, like on the line, “…Everybody’s down on one knee, everybody’s got to pray…”. Suffice to say, that tune definitely got everyone’s blood pumping. “This next song is called Trust Between Liars and Thieves.” Pete stated, as they began another powerful number. Guitarist, Matthew Miller, started them into “October 5th”, which has a misleading, tranquil intro, and started it only after Pete had dedicated the song to his sister, who was in the audience. Many of their remaining songs were ones that have yet to be recorded, and I think even a few were new to me, such as second song after the previous one, which was actually pretty slow and tame by White Elephant standards, though I found it to be one of the best songs of their set. Afterwards, they did one whose title alone is enough to make you love it. “…This one’s called Girls That Fight are Beautiful.” Said Pete, who joined the crowd at one point during the song, pushing everyone he could, causing some people to step back, while others began the mosh pit he was trying to create. Yeah, that’s something to expect from a White Elephant show. After a few more tunes, their time seemed to be up, though there was one more song from their demo that they hadn’t done, and it was one that I’ve always felt was a staple. It seemed like it would be absent from this show, though. That was until Pete asked if they would have time for one more song. They got the okay. Will busted right into “Kill the Headlights and Drive”, and Matthew and bassist, Josh Armstrong, soon joined in. Pete again hopped off the stage, walking amongst the crowd and pushing up against the fans while he sang, and only seemed satisfied once he was able to watch a few people slam against each other in the “pit”. In all, it was a 37-minute long set, and one helluva set at that.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, very few, if even any, bands put on as aggressive and intense performance as what White Elephant does. It’s very easy to get caught up in it, and while I’m not big on the whole mosh pit thing and have never been a part of one, their music makes you want to just say, “Fuck it!”, and jump right in. They’re a force to reckoned with, however, a large part of that force was Will Jaeger.
He’s departing the band because, as Pete said, he has a wife and kid he needs to take care of. The reason is completely understandable, but at this point, I can’t imagine the band without him. He really is one of the most talented drummers I had the pleasure of seeing, and I doubt the shoes he leaves will ever be filled.
But the band has to try, of course, and are currently in the process of finding their new fourth member. On top of that, they are working on their first official record, which is slated for release sometime in 2013. So rest assured, this is going to be a big year for the band.
Keep a check on their REVERBNATION PAGE to see when they will have some more shows coming up. And while there, you can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song that closed out this nights set.
Following them was the band of the hour, Moving Atlas, who, without question, had the most people out this night, as their fans packed the venue to see history be made.
Multiple drumbeats began their 48-minute long set, and it was immediately noticeable that it was the intro into “Welcome Home”. Things then kicked into high gear when the guitars and bass were added to mix, as vocalist, Dunagin Gaines, sang the first few lines, “Can we please stop all the yelling? It’s getting us nowhere. Neither one of us will waive the white flag…” It was a good opener, and is one of my favorite songs off their latest EP, and to follow it up they did another I thoroughly enjoy, and the title track of said EP, “Machina”. Some may disagree with doing two of your biggest songs right off the bat like that, but for Moving Atlas, it works. Those tracks are very conducive to the atmosphere the band creates, which is an all-out rock show. Besides, they have enough other excellent material in their catalog to keep people around. Like the slower, “Red Shelter”, for example, which guitarist, Ben Scott, started, and seemed to be a pleasant surprise to the fans, who weren’t expecting it so early on. “Year of the Rat” brought things back up, particularly the intro, which features some slick sounds from Ben and lead guitarist, Ricky Dansby. It’s the chorus, though, where it really gets aggressive, with some fast paced guitar playing, thunderous beats, and some pulsating bass notes, while Dunagin belts out, “Trash. What’s in your hand? What do you feed your rodents? Trash. No chemical ban. Is it thallium mixed with lye?…” They did stop occasionally between songs, long enough for Geoff to thank everyone for coming out, the bands for playing or the Curtain Club for hosting this shindig in the first place. Oh, and promote their merch. They kept the talk to a minimum, though, and soon did the two remaining songs from their new record that are standards in the live set. First you had “Crawl out in the Cold”, which was followed by “Muse Accuser”. “…Find a place and get comfortable…” Dunagin told the crowd, when speaking of what a long, epic song it is. “It’s not that long.” Geoff said, before Dunagin retorted, “It’s pretty long.” He is right, but it at least doesn’t seem like a six and a half minute long song. “This next song hurts me.” Said Dunagin, once they had finished up their previous tune. That sounded a bit odd at first, until he added something to the effect of it involved him taking a long fall. A mile high fall to be exact. They then ripped into “5280”, which was a real highlight of the show. Though the best moment, at least for me, came with the next one, which was about “pachyderms” as Dunagin put it. It was a dead giveaway, and I felt my excitement mount, just waiting for them to start “Elephant Gun”. It truly is one of, if not the most amazing thing the band has ever written and is quite the beast when done live. At this point, their time was running short, but Dunagin talked the sound guy into letting them do two more. “…We’ll do a short one, then our last one…” he told them. “We haven’t done anything from this record yet…” he told the crowd, and I can only assume he was speaking of “Et Al”. I’ve said before that I don’t listen to that one much, so I’m pretty unfamiliar with all the songs on it. He said they were going to do one that was about two-minutes, though, and the only close to that time on the album is “Bread and Meat”. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, though. They then got to their final song of the night, and Ricky, Ben, Ross and Geoff created a killer intro for it. The piece they’ve concocted is a little haunting and sounds quite cool, before it gives way to “Parachute”, which was a good one to end with.
This was a rock show, plain and simple, which is precisely what any and every fan expects from Moving Atlas. They just get up there and proceed to rock, letting all their energy loose, which is dominating to say the least. I’ll say it again, they are one of the best bands currently in the D/FW music scene, and also one of the most professional. They also can be humorous, though.
For example, at one point Geoff noted that their plaque wasn’t quite done yet, so they wouldn’t be presented with it this night, but that it would adorn a spot on the vast empty space on the wall. He said something like it would be eleven by sixteen. “Feet?” Dunagin asked him. “Yes, feet.” Geoff replied.
They are currently working on some new material for an eventual new record, so their shows have been and probably will continue to be few and far between. So keep a check on their FACEBOOK PAGE to know when they will have another gig. Also, check out their music. They have their debut full-length plus three stellar EPs, all of which can be found in iTUNES.
Moving Atlas may have been the headliner, but there was one more band on after them, and that was Signs of Reason.
The band hasn’t done many shows lately, and the only other time I had seen them I only caught a portion of their set. So I was looking forward to seeing the whole thing this time around.
Being the final band on the bill meant they couldn’t waste any time, and lead guitarist, Brandon Goforth, began plucking the strings of his axe, getting “Only Human” underway. It’s got a pretty straight forward message to it, which can be found in the chorus. “…Still I make mistakes. I’m only human for Christ’s sake…”, vocalist, Garrett Gale, crooned while pacing about the stage. They mine a more Alt/Rock sound, and that song is a good example of it. And if it could be any type of indicator, then this was going to be an entertaining set. Next they did one of their many new songs, which will no doubt be on their forthcoming sophomore release, and continued the more amped up pace with “The Thief”, which has some killer percussion parts from Michael Johnson, as well as an out of this world guitar solo, courtesy of Brandon. Around this point in the show, Garrett offered some free merch to anyone who could tell a good joke (it had to be about a certain subject, which at this point I no longer recall.) It took a couple of tries, but eventually he accepted one, and handed the guy his prize. Another new song was “Wake Me Up”, which was easily one of the most gritty of their set, and one you could definitely sing along to. Now, one unique thing about this show was it was the first live show Michael Brown had ever done with the band, or so I believe. He took over the bass duties, while Chris Cole moved over to rhythm guitar, and it was during those last couple of songs where Michael really cut loose. It was readily evident that he’s a huge assist to the band, as he stomped about and thrashed around, and definitely helped elevate their stage performance (and presence) to a whole other level. “Where Rockstars Go to Die” came next, and with each listen I love it more and more. It’s by far my favorite song on their “One Bullet Away” record, and sounds even better when performed live. They did a couple more newer ones, and the latter of the two Garrett segued into by asking something like how all the assholes were doing. That word was used quite a bit during the tune, which went something like, “…You can’t tell me that you were born an asshole…”, and as you might have guessed, spoke of how no one is born acting like an a-hole, but rather, transformed into one. Before the final song of their 40-minute set, Garrett mentioned it has great personal meaning, and one he wrote around the time his child was born, sometime within in the past year or a little over. The obviously sentimental song is titled “Except for You”, and ended what had been an amazing night.
I must say, I was impressed right off the bat by Signs of Reason, and that feeling grew as their set progressed. I think they did have some slight technical difficulties here and there, but I was okay with, and still thought they were great… Especially with that new bass player I mentioned.
As I said, they play Alt/Rock music, and while it may not be anything new, they are certainly doing something right, and their music will attest to that fact, so give ‘em a listen.
You can buy their EP on iTUNES, or better yet, go see a show. They have one coming up on February 15th at the Curtain Club in Dallas. They’ll also be doing multiple sets at Six Flags in Arlington on March 17th. Oh, and you can download several songs of theirs for free as well, Simply go to their REVERBNATION PAGE.
This was a spectacular night of music, and while I hadn’t planned on it being the last show I caught in 2012, it ended up being just that. There was one or two more shows I wanted to see, but still, this talented lineup was not a bad way at all to end 2012.
Trees was hosting what has become an annual tradition at the venue this night, and that was a benefit show for Toys for Tots.
This was the fourth consecutive year they’ve done said event, but the first one that featured some bands I really liked which made me want to attend.
I deliberately got there a little later, because I had no interest in seeing the Dallas based, Maleveller. I had caught them once nearly two years ago, and that was more than enough for me.
They seem to have a decent following when it comes to fans of Metal music, but they’re the type of Metal where their singer screams incoherently all the time, and that is something I can’t stand.
The Austin trio, American Sharks, were setting up when my dad and I arrived, and got started shortly after.
I didn’t much care for them, either, but at least they weren’t painful to listen to like the first act would have been.
They interacted with the crowd a lot, mainly through joking, like before their third song, which their singer and bassist said they had just written from the time they walked from their merch booth at the back up to the stage. It didn’t sound to believable, but it worked, as they proceeded to crank out an aggressive little song. “Now Dallas, you’re not going to believe this, but I wrote another song, just as I was coming up those steps.” He said, barely able to keep a straight face. “They don’t want me to play it…” he mentioned, pointing at the drummer and guitarist. The audience wanted to hear it, though, so they did it. “Now I know y’all believe in magic… ‘Cause I wrote another song just now.” He couldn’t keep it together any longer, laughing while he noted that joke had probably gotten played out. “But seriously, this is a brand new song we just did.” He finished as they tore into it.
They had a few songs after that, and clocked in at a little under 30-minutes. It’s not like they were bad in my opinion, they just weren’t my style of music. Check them out, though. You might like them.
Both them and the next band had been on tour with The Sword since late October. I had caught one of those first shows of their tour up in Denton, and while I missed that last act, I had seen the one that was coming up next, and was a bit indifferent to them.
That band was Gypsyhawk, and they would prove to be much better this time around.
“…We are from Van Halen’s own backyard. And that is Pasadena, California…” roared singer and bassist, Eric Harris, before they band ripped into the first song of their 33-minute long set. Before their second song, Eric pointed out someone at the front, calling him out by name and saying, “…He’s one of my best friends.” He also made it known that the guy wore some glasses, which made him look “sciency”, and that was what their next song was about. “It was a track from their newest album, “Revelry & Resilience”, and was called “The Fields”. Hands down it was the best song of their set, and they were in perfect synch with each other. It was followed by a song about a book series that they said had influenced them as a band (I couldn’t understand what it was), and Eric asked if there was anyone else here who liked to read. A few people made some noise, to which he responded, “Well congratulations, ‘cause half this country is fucking illiterate…” Banter like that really made their set flow, as they told enough information about the song to give you an idea of what it was about, without being stretched out or seeming unneeded. Going with the theme of books, they then gave the crowd a “choose your own story” option. I don’t recall what option B was about, but option A was a song that dealt with sex, drugs and the other stereotypical vices a musician indulges in. So, which one do you think the crowd picked? It was A, which ended up being the song that bears the band’s name, “Gypsyhawk”. After some more originals, they did a cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”, before closing with “Commander of the High Forest”.
I was in complete awe of them this night. They were a well-oiled machine on that stage and were absolutely flawless. The other venue I had seen them at is smaller, and it was evident they really liked and utilized the larger stage here at Trees. Eric moved around a lot more, as did guitarists, Erik Kluiber and Andrew Packer.
The band’s sound has tinges of Metal to it, but also consists heavily of a Classic Rock sound (say, the 70’s), with some raw instrumental parts thrown in, and I was much more smitten with that mesh of music this time around.
You could feel the electricity in the air while they were on stage, and that is a rare feeling. And while some may disagree, there’s no question in my mind that they upstaged The Sword this night.
They don’t have any more show dates scheduled at the moment, but they will no doubt be coming sometime soon. And while you wait for them to come and rock a town near you, check out their two full-length records HERE.
Before The Sword began their onslaught of rock, one of the marines who was here this night got on stage to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the great causes. They had already exceeded their goal for this year, and the final count was 1500 toys collected for Toys for Tots, and nearly $5000 which would be split between that cause as well as Wounded Warriors. Yeah, it turned out to be an excellent night.
It wasn’t long after that, that the bands intro music started, and the crowd at this seemingly sold-out show shouted with excitement.
The curtain opened as bassist, Bryan Richie, drummer, Santiago Vela III, singer and rhythm guitarist, John Cronise, and lead guitarist, Kyle Shutt, descended the staircase.
I was as anxious as the next person, but again, I had seen them not too long ago, and assumed the setlist would be exactly the same. That would have been okay, because it was a great setlist, but I quickly found out they had revised it since late October.
As soon as they got situated, the sample track for “Apocryphon” began to play. The electronic sounds caught me off guard, because I was not expecting it so early on, but it proved a great opener. The band instantly had a swagger about them as they ripped into the song and proceeded to rock out on the lengthy intro, and that was something that stayed with them for the duration of the show. It may not be as heavy as some of their other stuff, but it really was a great opener. Since their songs are based largely on Norse mythology, there’s a otherworldly feeling you get when attending a Sword show, and that song really perpetuates that feeling. The song came to an end, but they didn’t stop, as a mix of hefty bass lines, thunderous drumbeats and soaring guitar riffs segued them into their next song. The fans soon realized it was “Freya” and sang along to the classic, “…All will fall and earth will die in flame …”. They still didn’t relent, winding the end of that song into the next, which was “Hammer of Heaven”, which is somewhat about the god of thunder, Thor. There’s something about John’s voice on that song as he shouts out the chorus, “Hammer of heaven!”. It’s a slight, yet noticeable difference in his voice, and the “effect” if you will, is what makes the song really pop. They took a pause after finishing it, thanking everyone for coming out, but soon got right back to work. So far, it had been songs I had heard at their other show, but changing that was a hit of the bands I wished they had done at that October gig. Kyle proceeded to wail on his guitar, revealing another fan favorite, “How Heavy This Axe”. It was short and sweet, though once it was finished, John continued to let loose some notes, segueing them into the next song, before Santiago exploded on the drums, opening up “Tres Brujas”. Those older songs had been great, but this was after all the “Apocryphon Tour”, and now they were ready to tackle some more songs from that new release. One of those was one of the best tracks on the record, “Cloak of Feathers”, which was brought right into “Dying Earth”. “…As the sun fades from the sky, this ancient earth prepares to die. Here at the end of all time, a slow demise so saturnine…”. That chorus seemed a little more striking this time around, what with all the talk about the world possible ending just a few days later. Not that I believed any of that, and while this song certainly wasn’t written about those potential events, it still painted a vivid picture of it. Following it was the subsequent song on the record, “Execrator”, which may well have been the most impressive song of the night. Kyle tore into his guitar, shredding on it so quickly it gave the song an even more Metal sound than it already does. His playing like that ebbed and flowed, pulling back some on the choruses, then letting loose after. A couple more oldies from their “Gods of the Earth” came next, one of which was “Maiden, Mother & Crone”, which had several people shouting along to it. At this point someone was attempting to take a picture of them, and were careless enough to use the flash on their phone. “Hey, we have enough lights on us already. Turn that shit off!” John told the person, before starting “To Take The Black”. Around this point, John announced they had just a few more left, and then broke into “Seven Sisters”. Things were slowed down a bit with “Eyes of the Stormwitch”, though picked back up with a song from “Warp Riders”, which had been absent the last time I saw them. “This song’s called Arrows In the Dark.” Stated John. It may well be one of their hardest songs, and definitely held true for this show. No sooner was it finished, then they started the lead single from their new album, “The Veil of Isis”. As good an opener as that had been, it seemed more at home here capping off a 74-minute long set.
With that, the band waved goodbye and made their way back to the green room, and surprisingly enough, most people seemed alright with that. Finally the bands guitar tech walked on stage and successfully got a chant going for the band to return, which they did.
The crowd roared when the band started their 9-minute encore, pulling out their rendition of ZZ Top’s, “Cheap Sunglasses”. That cover was one of the most memorable moments of the 2011 installment of Dia De Los Toadies, even though the band was just an opener at that festival. The song then made its way onto the new record, but I had doubts that they’d play it. I’m very glad they did, though, because The Sword leaves a real mark on it, and make it entirely their own. They wound the end of it into their final song, and there is no better song to end on than the hit from their “Age of Winters” album, “Winter’s Wolves”. It by far has the coolest lyrics of all their songs, and is simply a dynamic piece of work, especially in the live format.
That concluded the show, and it was a fantastic one, too.
The sound was far superior here at Trees than the venue in Denton I had seen them at, and that alone made a real difference. But you also had their stage show, which had been tightened up in that short amount of time. John made more small talk at that other show, which he didn’t do as much of now, as they focused solely on the performance.
They were at their best this night when they were cranking out the instrumental portions of the songs, and you could really see their musicianship, which is excellent.
A few days after this, they completed their American leg of the tour, and early next year will head over to Europe for some shows. You can find all their dates HERE. They also have four full-length records and a single available, so if you are not yet familiar with the awesomeness that is The Sword, listen to and purchase them HERE.
This was really a great night, and not just in terms of the show. It was also good to know I (and everyone else here) were helping out a couple worthy causes. And hopefully next year’s Toys for Tots show at Trees will be even bigger.
Nearly three years in to their career, The Virgin Wolves have accomplished more than most bands do, or even can in that time frame.
For starters, they expanded from a husband-and-wife duo of Chase and Jaimeson Robbins, to a well-rounded five-piece outfit that has the release of two EP’s under their belt. Both were crucial to capturing and subsequently growing their fan base, though the main draw to the band is probably what they are best known for; their fiery, brash live performance.
That has helped make them into an institution of the North Texas music scene, yet they’ve still lacked something that is key to any band, and that is a full-length record.
Well, they’re finally getting around to releasing one, and their debut full-length is titled, “Pretty Evil Thing”.
The record isn’t all brand spankin’ new material, nor is just the same old tracks from their previous EP’s added in as “filler”. Instead, they tweaked many older songs and peppered in some new offerings, too.
One song that has been tweaked is “Black Sheep”, which is not only the lead track on the record, but also the first single. A fury of drumbeats now begins the song, as some guitar feedback is laced over it and gradually swells, giving way to the series of chords that the fans should be all too familiar with. The big difference with them, though, is they bear a much slicker and more polished sound. Jaimeson’s voice also has more of a snarl to it and is loaded with attitude, which is more reflective of what the song has evolved into in the live setting. But one of the best revisions here is the instrumental bridge at around the 1:50 mark, which incorporates some more soulful notes, but done in a manner that only The Virgin Wolves can pull off.
“Crawl” is another song to receive a bit of a facelift, again beginning with some percussion, which is heavier on the bass drum now. The same can be said for it as the opening track, at least in the general sense that it, too, has been tightened up all the way around. But perhaps the best addition on this one is the layering of backing vocals, which are used at various points throughout and add a cool “echo” effect. That is at its best at the end of the second verse, on the line, “…Gave myself three cigarettes and whistled just like a bird.” It’s simply the way “bird” is enunciated, which sounds quite beautiful.
Your first glimpse (or rather, listen) of the bands new material comes with the next song, “End Of The Line”, which is intriguing to say the least. It’s a vast departure from the niche they’ve carved out for themselves, and, at times, has a certain Pop flare to it, which is something lacking in all of their other songs. There’s something to be said for a band that will push themselves and step out of their comfort zone a bit, though. The multiple vocals create an interesting dynamic that works surprisingly well, especially in the first half, which features a very simple guitar riff that will have you mesmerized. It’s also rather dark and moody, and occasionally makes the transition into an aggressive Rock that is sure to stick with you. All of that helps make it an exceptional song, and not just my personal favorite on this album, but any of the previous ones, too.
“What You Want To Hear” is another oldie that has undergone a drastic overhaul, and not just in the title change. The music bed is completely different and much slower on the verses, with more of a Classic Rock/Blues vibe to it. In contrast, the choruses are full of piss and vinegar, especially the way the lyrics, “No matter how hard I try, you see the guilty in my eye. And I tell you what you want to hear…”, are sung. It’s a beast of a song, and they managed to take something that was good and expand upon and transform it into something incredible.
Another completely new offering is “Same Familiar”. That’s an apt title in some ways, because it’s everything you have come to expect from the band. It’s unapologetic dirty, raw Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is no doubt what they specialize in, and is pulled off exceedingly well here. That’s all I’ve got on this one, because the song speaks for itself.
“Lies” has also gotten a few touch-ups, but nothing too major. The rhythm section isn’t quite as heavy on this new version (it’s certainly still there, though), but the most noticeable difference is the cleaner sound this one has. You can better hear the nuances of the bass and guitars, which does elevate the listening experience. Aside from that, it’s essentially the same song you already know, just with a more refined sound.
“Crooked Smile” is another new original, and is also the song where the album title comes from. It’s still gritty Rock, and on the surface it fits hand in hand with any of their other material. However, like the other new songs on the album, the bands growth is obvious upon close inspection. There’s just a subtle, more mature sound to it on every level. For example, take this line from the second verse, which, if I understand it correctly, is, “…Don’t break no lies, don’t fake no smiles, do only what you mean…”. It’s simple, yet unbelievably deep.
Another older song with a new sound and name is “Oh, Sugar”. The Blues sound has been poured on, even heavier than what it was, and what really jumped out at me are the guitars, which have a much crisper sound, and the stellar riffs are quite inspiring. There’s also a big difference on the vocals and how various parts are sung. It’s all for the better, as it complements the music much better now, and is another prime example of a decent song that they have turned into something that’s off the charts.
A lot of albums begin to lag around the ninth track or so, but not “Pretty Evil Thing”. At this point, you get to what is arguable their most powerful song live, “Virtue And Vice”. It’s also the one that benefits the most from being re-recorded, as they managed to perfectly capture the intensity and energy that you experience at a live performance. At two minutes and forty-five seconds, it is the shortest song on the record, but it’s also the most explosive. But what really makes this one is the edgy, in-your-face screaming, like on the chorus, “…But you better act real nice, I don’t want to tell you twice…”, which comes across more like a demand than anything, and one that you best heed.
The two remaining songs are also ones that have been revamped, one of which is “Vagabonds”. It’s very similar to the original version, but with a richer, fuller sound, and a little more incendiary, too.
“Bad” brings the record to a close, and it has a more well rounded sound this time around. There’s also a ton of ferocity in this version, and that brings this 39-minute long album to a sensational and powerful close.
I’m really astounded by “Pretty Evil Thing”, simply because it captures the bands spirit so well. For those who have yet to see the group, listening to this record will give you a spot on idea of what a show is like. And for those who have seen them, then you’ll finally have something to listen to that does the band justice.
I mean, really, how many albums have you listened to that you can say, “That captures that bands sound to the tee!” Personally, I’ve heard a small handful, but more often than not bands will use some “studio magic” here and there, which makes it where they can’t pull off a track live in the way their fans know it.
There’s nothing even remotely like that on this one, though. It’s simply The Virgin Wolves doing what they do best; rocking out.
Their more collected then before and even more mature sounding, which gives the impression that “Pretty Evil Thing” is the first real release from the band.
I think this has been of the more anticipated records of 2012, as far as the local music scene is concerned, and it lives up to both the hype and expectations. I can also see this album serving as a jumping off point for the band, (hopefully) taking them to a stage much larger than that of North Texas.
The Virgin Wolves is:
Chase Robbins - Lead guitar & backing vocals
Jaimeson Robbins - Lead Vocals
Kristin Leigh - Bass & backing vocals
Steve Phillips - Drums
Carson Coldiron - Guitar & backing vocals
Purchase the album on:
(I will update this when the album becomes available in digital format.)
Current shows include:
December 31st they will be at Wit’s End (Formerly The Bone) in Dallas. / January 11th they will be at Club Dada in Dallas. / January 18th they will be at Andy’s Bar in Denton. / January 19th they will be at The Prophet Bar in Dallas. / For their full calendar of show dates, go HERE.
Photo credit: Will von Bolton
Back during the summer The House of Blues started doing an occasional showcase called Dallas Rocks!. It brought a few local bands onto the main stage of the venue, and the best part of it was that tickets were free if you got them from the bands performing.
I saw what I think was the first installment of the series, but missed the next one or two.
That brings us to this night, where there was yet another Dallas Rocks! showcase, and one of the bands this night was Redefine.
The band hadn’t played since July, after going through some member changes, when they lost guitarist, Ryan Maynard, and their newly found drummer. Since then they had been readying a new lineup, and this night they were finally ready to (sort of) debut it. All of that made the decision making process pretty easy when it came down to what show I’d see this night.
I arrived there about nine, and evidently had already missed the first band, Cosmic Trigger. Having never heard of them before, I don’t know if I missed out on something great or not, but hopefully I didn’t.
I wish I had missed out on the next band, too, and that was the Fort Worth based, Southern Train Gypsy, who had just got started when I got there.
They were Metal, and way too Metal for me. The live show was alright, and fairly high energy, but when you don’t enjoy the music, it makes it harder to enjoy just the performance.
They do deserve some kudos though for the way they ended the show, as their singer said something like, “Pray for those families, think about, whatever it takes…”, of course speaking of the families in Connecticut who were affected by the school shooting earlier in the day.
After them, it was time for Redefine, who was debuting their new rhythm guitarist, and for one time only, they were going to have their old drummer, Daniel “Dano” Taylor, back behind the kit.
They started right at ten o’clock, as lead guitarist, Chris Apaliski, and bassist, Mike Diquinzio, gathered on the drum riser. They played a few notes to build the anticipation, before tearing into their first song, “Take Your Medicine”. I had heard good things about their new guitarist, Matt Jones, but he had a rocky start, as there were some technical difficulties with his amp, which resulted in him being a non-player for that song, and most of the next. However, Chris, Mike and vocalist, Scott Headstream, more than made up that, as they rushed around the massive stage. There last two shows had been (very) sup-par for the band, but those three made it evident they weren’t going to let that happen again, and I dare say they were in rare form, even for these guys, right from the get go. Upon finishing it, Scott spoke to the crowd, introducing the band to anyone who was unfamiliar with Redefine and thanked everyone for coming out. He said a little bit more before admitting he couldn’t do anything else to kill time. So Chris started them off on another song from their “Blur On the Horizon” EP, “Cut the Cord”, which was done minus one guitarist. By their third song, Matt’s gear had been fixed, and just in time, too, as they were doing one of my favorite song. “I need to hear whisper, because I’m tired of scream. It’s her lips I remember when I see the scars from her teeth…” Scott softly sang, the first line of “Like a Vision, a Ghost”. I think it’s one of their grittiest songs, and Chris owned it on his solo before the final chorus. They next tackled a couple songs from their 2009 EP, “The Power Of Persuasion”, beginning with “Unheard And Dying”. “The Darkest Night” followed, which Dano eventually ended with a swift beat on the drums. Seconds later, he did it again, segueing it into their next tune, as the guitars and bass fired back up. “This is my favorite song.” Scott remarked, then added, “It’s our jam.” That meant it had to be the heavy hitter, “Arcana”, and sure enough, it was. From here on out it was just older songs of the bands, which was alright with me, since one of those was “The Silent Hum”. One of their heaviest and most intense songs is “Rise”, and usually seems to be their last song of the set, but not this time. They had one final one in store, and it was “Fall Down, I Believe It”. Scott busted out the Redefine megaphone again (he had used it very briefly during “Like a Vision…”), but it really got its use on this one. I’ve seen a few bands use megaphones before, and most use it way more than they should, but they use it sparsely enough that it works, and it adds a cool effect at that. That brought their 41-minute long set to an end, and it was quite the show at that.
You could tell Matt lacked the on stage chemistry the other guys have, but that’s to be expected, and will no doubt change once they get more live experience under their belt. And that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is a pretty good guitarist.
It was also good seeing Daniel back behind the drums. The guy really is a beast, and it made me wish he would stay with the band, but hopefully their new drummer will be just as good.
Overall, I thought it was one of the better shows I’ve seen them do, and you could tell the excitement of playing one of the biggest venues in Dallas had something to do with it. They owned the stage and definitely took advantage of all the space they had, and flat-out killed it.
There were even a few bits of comedy, like at one point when Chris said he had been teaching Matt how to lift weights (If you are unfamiliar with Redefine, just look at a picture of the band and you’ll see why that’s funny).
It has been a rocky 2012 for Redefine, but they managed to end it on an outstanding note, and proved to their fans that their June and July shows were simply one-off mistakes. Hopefully they’ll return to the stage in the first few months of 2013, but of course they need to get their drummer situation taken care of first.
So in the meantime, check out both their EPs HERE. Oh, and hopefully this won’t be the last time they play here at the House of Blues. I’m sure the free tickets had something to do with it, but they had quite the crowd out here this night.
During their set, I had started feeling a little sick, but hoped it would pass, and decided to try to stick it out for The Raven Charter’s set.
Chatter filled the room while the band went through their sound check, and I seemed to be one of the few people who noticed they had begun their first song, as the music was barely audible. That quickly changed though, as everything was turned up and the keys, guitars, bass and drums grabbed everyone’s attention. “Survival Kit” was the opening number, and after a few minutes vocalist, Garrett Bond, joined the instrumentalists. He, keyboardist, Erik Stolpe, and to some extent, guitarist, Brandon Bond, then let loose some awesome harmonies on the mostly dark sounding song. After a brief introduction to the band, they got back to business with a fun tune that tells the exact story the name “Kidnapping” implies. “Be quiet and don’t move, and we promise not to harm you. You’re family has money, and it’s solely what we’re after…” Garrett belts out on the chorus. “This next song is a slower one…” he said when they had finished the previous one, “…But it’s a fun one.” he added. It was “Reveal Reframe Release”, a song that was absent from their show a couple weeks before, and seeing as it’s my favorite song of theirs, it was nice to hear it now. It may be slower than most of their other stuff, but I wouldn’t call it a “slow song”, as it still has some pretty raw guitar riffs from both Daniel Baskind and Brandon. They picked the pace back up with “Unfolding”, and fortunately Daniel had gotten them to turn up the volume of his mic, so he could actually be heard on this one, which is one he co-sings on. Erik had busted out an acoustic guitar for a short line on that song, and afterwards handed it off to Garrett. “This night’s all about making bad decisions…” he said, “…And this is one of them.” It was one of their newer songs they had in store next, but those first 19-minutes were all I could make through.
I think all I had was a bug of some sort, but it had started taking a toll on me, and even standing up was becoming a near impossible task at this point, hence why I decided to leave. I had at least seen the band a couple weeks before this, and I did get to hear my three favorite songs of theirs this night.
They are a killer group, and what little I caught they seemed even more on point this night then they had the last time I’d seen ‘em, which is saying a great deal. So check them out when you can. They’re taking a short break, but will be back on stage on February 15th at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, where they will be opening for Hawthorne Heights. They also have two EP’s available, which can be purchased HERE.
What is the only venue in Dallas where you can always catch a great, local rock show? Why, the Curtain Club, of course. And I’ve said this many times before, but it can’t hurt to say it again; I also view it as being the best club venue in Dallas.
A couple of bands were doing their last shows of the year this night, and three out of the four acts I am big fans of, so I knew it was going to be great.
The first act up was Werewolf Therewolf, and by the time I got to the Curtain, they were mostly through.
They were good, I’m not going to say they weren’t. However, nothing that I hear ever really grabbed me or made me listen too intently. They did sound better live than what little bits I had listened to of their record, though.
If you want, you can check out their BANDCAMP PAGE, where they have their EP, “Initium”, available to listen to. If you dig it, well, you can get it for a free download.
Second up was the Fort Worth based Rock band, Waking Alice, who was doing only their second Dallas show with their current line-up, and also last show of 2012.
They immediately started in on their 35-minute set with what is becoming one of my favorite songs of the bands. I’m not sure if it’s one of their older songs or one of the few new ones they’ve recently written, but either way it’s a stellar rock song, and Rus’s voice sounds killer on it. They followed it with a couple of songs from their “Retribution” EP, the first of which was “Treason”. They sped it up quite a bit, though, with guitarist, Brandon Brewer, drummer, Jon Levey, and bassist, Brayton Light, playing at a blistering pace. The thing is, the song is already pretty fast paced, so they really blazed through it this night. Rus commented on that when the song was finished, and seemed a bit out of breath, but he managed to keep up with it. Within a few seconds, he had recovered, and Jon launched them into their next tune, “Scars”. There was a slight bit of humor thrown in after that song, as Rus made a remark, saying that Brandon “…hates everyone…”. He then looked at Rus, “Fuck you, I’m wearing a sports coat…” It was a nice little retort, and they then got “Biggest Lie” underway, and during it Brandon really ran with his guitar solo. It was obvious he was feeling it and completely consumed by the music, as he just kept going. At one point Rus started to get up from the drum riser, where he had taken a seat, and almost started singing again, but realized Brandon wasn’t done shredding, and sit back down. “…We had some fun with that one…” said Rus, when it was all said and done, adding they were about to have some more fun. He pulled a box of Twinkies out from his backpack. “…This might be one of the last boxes of Twinkies in the metroplex…” he said. “Now, I could be a selfish asshole and keep them all for myself, or I could be a cool rock star and give them to y’all…” He chose option two, and proceeded to throw the Twinkies out to the handful of fans gathered around the stage. He lobbed one high up in the air, where I couldn’t see, and really wasn’t even paying attention to it… Then it nailed me in the head. “Oh no, I hit Jordan!…” said Rus, then said something to the effect of, “…That Rus, what an asshole…”, like that was what was going through my mind. It wasn’t, ‘cause hey, it’s kind of hard for a Twinkie to hurt you, and it was a hilarious part of their set. Once all the pastries had been handed out, they got back to business with “Fates Design”. Following it was the epic, “Wasting Time”, and then they only had one left. Rus joked about the title, making one up, then Brandon said another one. “No, Hasselhoff’s and handjob’s?” Rus asked him, then repeated it. That title would probably make for an interesting song, but one that is just as good is “Chasing Memories”, which was a nice end to a fantastic set.
This show was much better than the other one I had seen, simply because everything was in perfect working order. See, last time Brayton was having some technical issues with his bass, and he had to hold back, quite a bit from the looks of it this night. He really rocked out this night, and all four of them seemed to be at the top of their game.
Waking Alice is certainly an awesome band, and have churned out some killer songs with Rus. Go check out the “Retribution” EP in iTunes and see for yourself. And I’m interested to hear what else they’ll churn out in their little time off. See, I was told it will probably be spring before they get back onto a stage, so that should provide plenty of time to write a new song or two.
After them was a band I had not seen in far too long, probably close to a year or more, and that band was Pistol Whippin’ Ike.
As the curtain started opening, guitarists, Barry Lorberbaum and Jason Rutledge, bassist, Alex Fowler, and drummer, Jeff Hathcock, tore into the first song of their 42-minute set, “Life As We Know”. Just one song deep and they already seemed like a completely different PWI than what I had seen before. They appeared even more focused and driven, and had even stepped their stage show a few notches. They kept right on going with one of their newer they’ve churned out in the last couple years, before pulling out a classic. Jeff lightly tapped the drums, while the rest of the band made sure they were all ready, as Mario Cadena stepped towards the front of the stage and shouted out, “Open up my eyes!…”, the first line of “Awakening”. Here and there Mario did take a moment in between songs to thank everyone, but for the most part they stayed pretty on point, and they were on a roll because of it. They barreled on with “The Way”, and at the end, Jeff segued it right into “Last Cigarette”, a song off the bands new EP, “Dying the Dream”. It turned into a bit of a sing along, as a few of the fans could be seen singing right along with Mario on the chorus, “…My time is coming. I want you to know this. I’m not afraid. Waiting for something, waiting for nothing…”. Around this point in the show, Mario took a minute to address the “caterpillars” they had on their faces. See, they were all participating in “Movember”, and were growing some mustaches during this month. “…I mean no disrespect by this, but you ladies get all year to support your causes. But November, it’s for us guys…” he said. He also noted that he knew they looked ridiculous with their staches. “Speak for yourself!” Jeff said, standing up from the drum kit, which got a laugh from his band mates and the audience. When they got back to it, they did the powerful, “I Used to Dream”, and then another newer tune that is one of my favorites of the bands. Mario turned it into a sing along, and even for those who didn’t know it, it was easy to learn. “…It’s so hard to say. I love you, but I hate you…” a handful of people shouted along, with Mario occasionally holding out the microphone where just the audience could be heard. It seemed that “Liar” might be their last song, and it would have been a strong one to finish on, however, while there might not have been many people at the show (it was a slow night overall), they were eager for more, and made it well known. “…Because of you, we’re going to do one more…” said Mario, also acknowledging they wouldn’t be here in the first place if it weren’t for everybody supporting them. They then ended things with what is probably the heaviest song in their arsenal, “You Should Run”.
I’ve seen Pistol Whippin’ Ike more than a few times, and have always thought they were great. But with this show, it’s like they tapped into a whole new well of potential and possibility. Mario was even more ferocious as a frontman than I’ve seen him act in the past. And Jason, Barry, Alex and Jeff all appeared to have added just a little extra slickness to their talents, which really helped in tightening things up.
You can next catch them on Saturday, December 8th at the Bryan Street Tavern in Dallas. It’ll be a benefit concert for Toys for Tots, so bring a toy and get in free. As for their music, they have their full-length, “.44 Caliber Confessions”, a live record, and even the single, “I Used to Dream” available, and all of them can be found HERE.
It was getting close to Night Gallery’s time to take the stage for their last show of 2012. (Well, last one in their hometown area at least. They do have a out of town show coming up, though.)
They, too didn’t waste any time, and the instruments roared to life a few seconds before the curtain was ever pulled apart. When it was, guitarists, Jeremy Root and Nathan Hanlon, bassist, Mikey Auringer, and drummer, Randall “Duckie” Etherton, were well into the first single off the bands “Loud as the Sun” record, “My Friend Pretend”. Patrick ”Otter” Gonzales then bounded on stage, succumbing to the music, rocking out while he dragged his mic stand around until it was time for him to start singing. Since releasing their record at the end of June, they’ve found an awesome groove which for the most part finds them being relentless. Such was the case this night, as “Duckie” blended that song right into the short but intense, “Dirty Side”, which in turn was brought straight into “Crazy Brave”. They took a much needed breather after that, where Otter introduced themselves to anyone who was maybe unfamiliar with the greatness that is Night Gallery. “…We’re going to slow things down with this next one…” he then said, noting the next song was called “Lynne”. It is slower compared to their other songs, but not by much, though it is more of a love song than their other music. Take for example the chorus, where Otter crooned, “…Another lost love song, another kiss goodbye. You cannot take all the lies, but I need you by my side…”. They paused once again after that song, and for the second time this night, talk turned to the highly endangered Twinkies. “We were going to do an auction…” Duckie said, with Otter adding they had planned to auction boxes of the snack off throughout their show, but after searching everywhere, could not find enough to do it. It was then mentioned that they had thought about having Otter dress up as a giant Twinkie, but the idea was axed. “…I could just imagine everyone running on stage after a giant, human sized Twinkie…” he said, laughing. They got back to it with two more great songs, “Without Regret”, and another single, “The Tide”, and after it was when things got interesting. “Is anyone here a fan of AC/DC?” asked Otter. That made it sound like they were going to do a cover song, and covers are not something Night Gallery does too often. “We’re gonna have fun with this one.” added Otter, as his band mates began the song. They chose to do a rendition of “Big Balls”, which was quite appropriate, since Night Gallery is all about having fun, and hearing them do this song was a riot. The best part was that they all seemed dead serious while performing it, especially Otter, who sang as if there were no intended innuendos in the lyrics. For example, the line, “…My balls are always bouncing, my ballroom always full. And everybody comes and comes again…” It was brilliant on many levels, and very neat to hear, because I’m sure this was one of the only times they will ever cover it. The fun was far from over, as they next did the fan favorite, “She Runs”, and “Separation Anxiety”, before things took a turn. “Untimely Demise” has always been different from the bands other songs, in the fact that it is slower and is completely serious, having an undertone that deals with death. Otter even dedicated to a loved he lost earlier in the year, and sadly, now it was Duckie’s turn. “This one’s for my dad.” He said, before they started the song. It did create a somber mood, but was lifted by the next song, “Mr. Ripper”. It’s kind of funny to say that, because who would have ever thought a song about Jack the Ripper would be fun? With that, there was only one song left from their album they had to do, and there is no better way to end a show then with the “The Signal”. With it they essential say, “We’re Night Gallery. Nothing more, nothing less. And we’re here to put on a fun, honest to god rock show.”
They put on an incredible 51-minute long set, and despite the low turnout, it was a great last hometown show of the year.
They have one more show for the year at the Iron Horse Pub in Wichita Falls on December 14th, and will hopefully be back in action in early 2013. But until then, check out their album, “Loud as the Sun”.
Pistol Whippin’ Ike