Hello. My name is George, and I am a musician. I also enjoy witnessing live music. Puro Pinche has given me the opportunity to share my concert going experiences here. I was going to use a pseudonym, but I couldn’t think of one, plus sometimes it’s easier to just be yourself. I’m not trying to win any awards, and my opinions don’t matter any more or less than the average Facebook status update. That being said, my first “assignment” (self-issued) was to write a reflection on Wednesday night’s Langton Howl Tour Kickoff party at Jacks Bar.
Sadly, I proved terribly unprofessional (professional is a loaded word) and missed the first band, the latest and hopefully permanent incarnation of Secrets & Irises. I’ve known the band for a few years and am fully supportive of their ambition in finding a lineup that sticks. If you haven’t seen them within the last year, you might be glad to hear they now have a female, 20 year-old Kelsey Novak, taking helm on the mic. A friend who was actually able to see the band gave them a positive review. It was his first time seeing them with the new lineup and he approved of the additions, describing the vocals as a throwback style reminiscent of Karen O. I had the opportunity to see the new lineup awhile back and agree that as long as Secrets & Irises continues to focus and hone their talents, they’ll do just fine. Also, a little birdie has told me that they have a CD coming out soon through Mitote Records.
Though I was disappointed to arrive as Secrets & Irises was tearing down their equipment, it didn’t take long for the live music to kick back up with Mrs. Howl. This was my first time seeing them with Christine Rebel behind the drums (guitarist of Langton Drive and a San Antonio music veteran). Since the Howls, Laurel & Chelsea Dagger, relocated to SA from some town up north, they’ve been through a couple beatsmiths. When I heard Christine would be taking over, I was curious to see how the new lineup would perform. I was pleased to hear a new sense of cohesion from a band that continues to own their identity as SA’s very own Riot Grrrl movement. I was glad to hear new material that proves Mrs. Howl is growing musically. For a band that thrives in crowded sweaty rooms, they held their own on “the big stage”. As a musician, I also make observations about what I would like to see from a band as they develop. I sometimes refer to this as “dreaming” for them. For Mrs. Howl, I wouldn’t change much. I wouldn’t even add a bass player. I would, however, like to see Chelsea unleash a little more fury vocally. Mrs. Howl makes fun music and induces smiley dances, but I know if you were to take them there, Laurel and Christine would follow your lead and be a lethal rock combo.
Langton Drive closed out the night. Full disclosure: Ernesto Olivo (drums) and I are closely tied as roommates and beyond. Plus, I recorded the band’s first EP and know the songs by heart. This does give me a biased lean towards them. It also sets a certain bar of scrutiny. To be honest, I was as shaken as they were when their second song of the night ran off the rails, but in this game, it’s how you deal with live show chaos that defines you. That’s why I was so proud of them after the show. The third song started off timidly, but by the fifth song, they had fully regained their confidence and were all in sync. I ordered them a round of tequila shots (on their own tab), and the show became the celebration it was intended to be. The newer songs were on point and they played a solid string of songs from the EP, sending audience members to their merch table before their set was over. To cap it off, Chelsea Dagger joined the band on stage for a Tegan and Sara tribute followed by a mashup of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and New Order to send everyone home.
Now, about the “dreaming” I do for my peers… I have this fascination with seeing people let go. When a band trusts each other and develops that confidence, you become more comfortable on stage, and you can tap into some real power, transcending as an artist in unity with your audience. I have faith that this power lies in Langton Drive. Look to each other and build that bubble of energy from the center, then watch it grow. Start with bass and drums, then the guitars will add color and heat. Once the stage is set, Jessie Riot is gonna cause one.
I wish you all great luck and safe travels on your journey, my friends. Live it out!