Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Look Back at The Vandals in Austin

February 7th, 2009
The Vandals at Red 7

Austin, Texas- For the longest time, as in all my life, I have waited to see The Vandals live in concert. I didn’t think I’d get the chance after missing them so many times. I was shocked and excited when I learned they were coming to Red 7 of all places. I figured if they ever came back around to Austin it would be a bigger venue or as part of a festival like Fun Fun Fun Fest. I’m not complaining though, not at all.

On the bill that night with The Vandals was a local favorite of mine, Sober Daze. Sober Daze is young up and coming band on the punk rock scene who get better ever time I see them. They used this show to film a live DVD, which was a smart move given the scope of the show. Lots of people packed Red 7 early in fear of a sell out, so they had their biggest crowd that I have seen them play in front of. It was nice to see all those people feeling Sober Daze they way I always have. I’m telling you punk rock fans, they are the next wave of the Austin punk scene.

After Sober Daze was another Austin punk rock staple, Complete Control. Their set was an interesting one to say the least. After two songs, some idiot poser with a bad Mohawk messed with the lead singer by pulling his mic cord, preventing the singer from being heard. That same dude then tried to climb on stage and grab the singer. What he was trying to accomplish, I have no idea. The singer then dropped the mic, all pissed off of course, and started threatening to fight the guy. Being drunk and fearless, the mohawked idiot was even putting up a fight as he was being thrown out. Word is the singer from Complete Control punched him outside before coming back to finish the set.

Upon his return to the stage, he tells the crowd he doesn’t believe in violence. It’s a good thing his band kicks ass, otherwise I’d be done with Complete Control solely based on that. I don’t blame him for being pissed off, but let security do their job (which they did) and play on. He wasn't hurt. They are a great band with a killer sound. That’s what was impressive, not that whole macho act.

After the Complete Control set, out came The Vandals. I was right in front with my body safely guarding my good friend and photographer, who got some great shots. My arms paid the price along with my back, but it was so worth it. From where I was, I could see lead singer Dave Quackenbush’s nose hairs.

After what appeared to be a quick set of a few classics and even some stuff I didn’t recognize, the band played around with some old songs they seemed to have forgotten over the years. It was pretty funny but fun to watch them discuss it amongst themselves and sort of “wing it”. With so many roster changes and albums over the years, I couldn’t pinpoint all the songs on the set. I just know it was an awesome experience. It was the best punk rock show of the year for me thus far, hands down.

Thanks to Mari Hernandez for taking some great photos for our Austin Vida article on Sober Daze.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Los Lonely Boys play GSD&M during SXSW

San Angelo, Texas's own Los Lonely Boys were in town today playing a private concert at GSD&M. I honestly had no idea they were in town and playing during South By. The last time I saw these dudes was last year at Blues on the Green at Zilker Park. Even though there was lots going on with SXSW everywhere else in town, I try not to miss a Los Lonely boys concert.

It was a short set todat, but they played to a few hundred people there at "idea city" and a few persoanl friends of theirs. There was wine and Amp energy drink to be had by all. I chilled with my AMP by the front of the stage on the lawn area they had. It was great except for the speaker that blew during the early part of their set. It smelled like a smoke bomb (firework) I used to play with as a kid.

Speaking of kids, it seemed like every kid that asked for a guitar pick got one. The Lonely Boys love the kids. That, and it would look really douchey on their part not to give them the pick in front of everyone watching. What was cool of them was that they made sure to play with the picks before giving them blessing it first.

I was dissapointed that it was a shorter set than I am used to from them, but theis wasn't a normal venue or a typical show. All in attendence had a great time and got more than their money's worth. It was a nice break from all the craziness happening everywhere else. Don't get me wrong, I love it. One just needs to chill in between it all. The Lonely Boys are good for that.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Black and White Years at Austin Chronicle Film Bash

Monday night was the first night of SXSW 2009. I was at The Austin Chronicle Film Bash at La Zona Rosa to finally check out The Black and White Years. Being that they are from Austin, I sort of took it for granted by not catching a show from them yet. After learning that they are the opening act for the big SXSW show with Devo, I figured I’d better check them out before they stopped being “local”.

The Black and White Years played two sets that night and were the only feature band. This was my first SXSW film anything as I am a music guy. I could care less about most film fest films with the exception of foreign films. I also expected free cigarettes (not that I smoke) because American Spirit was a sponsor. I was planning to give those to a couple of friends. Oh well, no big deal. Like I said, I was there for the music.

As I arrived at La Zona Rosa, The Black and White Years had just started their set with their song called A Wetter Sea. I wasn’t into it. They have better songs and I honestly thought they should have opened with a more up tempo track. It wasn’t until about 4 or five songs later when they played Dragons and then a really cool Tejas song that I started enjoying myself. It was then that I noticed that they are better live than on CD. Their live energy was great Monday, probably more so than usual due to it being their first SXSW 2009 show.

Not long after their first set, they came back with Life Debt. Their second set was better than their first, as the second set included their radio hit Power to Change and my personal favorite from them, Zeroes and Ones. After the second set, I started hearing from the crowd “Devo Jr” references and the words “new wave” being tossed around. That’s about right, just throw in the word “indie” in there and that’s The Black and White Years.

Austin Magazine called them one of the nine Austin bands to “watch for”. I think it is because of the buzz and press they are getting, because there are better bands of many genres here. However, they are ready certainly ready for national hipster stardom and will win over the Paste Magazine crowd.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sober Daze: The Next Big Thing in Punk Rock

Having just recently opened for punk rock legends, The Vandals, Austin punk rock group Sober Daze are on their way to making serious headway in the punk scene. Having come from Puerto Rico in 2003, they made their name by throwing their own house party shows and winning over new fans their own way. Despite playing along side some pretty big punk rock bands, no major media outlets have either taken an interest or have Sober Daze on their radar. I sat down with the guys from Sober Daze (Peter, Fatty & Corn) recently and talked with them about everything from life in Puerto Rico, their new album, and those now legendary house parties on St John's.

Meet Sober Daze here on Austin Vida

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My First Coversation with Alejandro Escovedo..

It was a sunny, balmy afternoon and Alejandro Escovedo and I were sitting at Joe’s Coffee on South Congress. We talked about his latest (2008) album, Real Animal. The album is his ninth solo effort. I wanted to know about his life after Real Animal while also getting to know the man behind the music. Being in my twenties, not too many of my peers know of Alejandro. If they do, it is only by name. He is afterall, a music icon and Austin legend. He has a fascinating life story and we had a great conversation. I just didn't agree with him about MTV, but love his choice of new young bands he likes.

Read the full interview here on Austin Vida

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New Pinata Protest Interview on Austin Vida

This month's cover feature on Austin Vida is none other than San Antonio's own, Pinata Protest. I have known these dudes for while now and I see them making some real headway in the Austin Scene. They have an original style that marries Flaco Jimenz and The Sex Pistols. I know that sounds strange in print, but check them out and listen for yourself. They way I always describe them to friends is by using a Dropkick Murphys comparison. What the Dropkick Murphys do for the Irish and punk rock, Pinata Protest does for the Mexicans and punk rock. As the first person to bring Pinata Protest to Austin, I couldn't be happier to share this interview wth you all.

Click here to read the Pinata Protest Interview

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Both Sides of the Fence Review featuring Deuce From Hot 93.3

Going with the black and brown coming together theme of the new Trae & Rob G album, I brought in a guest reviewer to talk about this album with me. My good friend, Deuce from Hot 93.3, put his two cents in with me about Both Sides of The Fence on Austin Vida.

Full Review Here on Austin Vida

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Album Review for David Garza's "Dream Delay"

After listening to Dream Delay all the way through a few times I thought to myself, “finally”. Not since This Euphoria has there been a David Garza album I could listen to and enjoy all the way through. Dream Delay, like This Euphoria, showcases the diversity Garza posses as an artist. There really isn’t anything he can’t do. No, I mean it. He writes, produces, sings, and he probably do stuff we don't know about yet. That's David Garza.

Full Review on Austin Vida

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

FREE Latin Alternative Showcase at Mexic-Arte Museum

Those of you who are looking for free shows during SXSW should definitely check out The Mexic-Arte's day party with Pilar Diaz, Leche, Cosmopolitan and my personal favorite of the bunch....Monte Negro. This is one of the better Latin music showcases this year and it is free.

I know, this is one of any things you could be doing on the 20th. Before you dismiss this show all together for something else, watch the vids I posted below.

Pilar Diaz

Pilar Diaz at Quiksilver's siteLA siteStage from Ravi Dhar on Vimeo.

Although I much preferred her with the now broken up Los Abandoned, her solo stuff will be very appealing to not just Latin music lovers, but to anyone in attendance. I think she'll win you over if you aren't a fan already.

MONTE NEGRO, Me Duele No Estar Junta A Ti from Edward Chen on Vimeo.

Monte Negro is one of the best bands in the Latin Alternative scene right now in my opinion. I have seen them live three times in Austin during the last year and they never disappoint. I only wish there were more people at those shows while they played to take notice. Seriously folks, time to pay attention. Their guitar player, Jason, is one of the best guitar players you'll find in any band of any genre. I have nothing but good things to say about these dudes. Check 'em out for free.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Double Stereo Launch Party

Your Invited March 19th - 21st @ Tiniest Bar in Texas | Free and open to the public | All ages welcome
RSVP to for complimentary drinks and such during the show.

Artists from Universal Motown Records, Myspace Records, Equal Vision Records, and Rumblefish including After Midnight Project, Nico Vega, The Photo Atlas, and Loch Lomond.

Plus, Austin standouts White Ghost Shivers, Driver F, The Mother Truckers and more!

It's the launch of Double Stereo. We think it's awesome and so will you. Pass it on!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Steps album reviewed on cdFuse

The Steps are one of the most polished indie rock bands to come out of Austin in a long time. I first caught wind of them when they won last year’s ACL Sound and the Jury Competition. The prize was a slot to play ACL Fest. Of all the bands at Antone’s that night, they were the best fit for ACL in terms of being ready for the big stage. I admit I wasn’t happy that they won. I was there to support 60 Tigres, a great rock band from Monterrey, Mexico. I felt ACL needed more Latin representation last year (still think that). Ever since that night, I haven’t seen The Steps or heard their music until it came across my desk recently. Since they are from Austin and did put on a great live show, I decided to give it an honest listen with an objective ear.

Click here to read full review on cdFuse

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