The buzz and excitement was palpable all over town this weekend. With the New Year approaching at blazing speeds and traffic building everywhere you turn, San Antonio, and especially downtown, was jumpin'.
Sobre Sound managed to attend several performances over the weekend including K23's Gary Wilson appearance while the lead singer of KISS christened the new Rock n' Brews at the AT&T Center. Brian Setzer performed at The Majestic, while next door a collaboration between YOSA and Deer Vibes absolutely crushed it. Blocks away, the classic American punk band, The Dead Kennedys, packed a sold out Korova and The Dizzease brought the good times to The Strip at The Mix.
Gary Wilson at K23
K23 Presents put an exclamation point on their 2015 by bringing one of music's great influencers Gary Wilson. The night began with a rotating crew behind the vinyl-only turntables near the sound board and took turns between the openers Smokey Robinsons and More Eaze. Concrete Jungle was serving up some tasty beverages outside from their mobile bar and attendees were an eclectic mix of familiar faces. Gary Wilson's set was full of synthy goodness and played a mix of songs from his catalog including a few from You Think You Really Know Me.
The Blind Dates and Gary Wilson's stage presence was engaging and fun to watch. From the human mannequins striking different poses to the synchronized lights, the atmosphere felt the way the the above photos look: somewhere between a rowdy acid trip and an art school after party.
Rock & Brews Grand Opening at the AT&T Center
Apart from still touring with their legendary rock band, KISS founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have also found the time to dabble in the restaurant business. Since 2012, they have been opening small chains in various locations around the United States and Mexico called Rock & Brews, and as of yesterday, San Antonio became their 10th location inside in the AT&T Center. (more here).
Brian Setzer at the Majestic Theatre
Early on in his and his band's performance Saturday night at the Majestic Theatre, Brian Setzer admitted it was the first time the Brian Setzer Orchestra brought its annual Christmas show to San Antonio.By the near end of the concert, Setzer suggested that he and his band should come to San Antonio more often. And why not? The crowd, which featured 50 and 60-somethings to pre-teens, welcomed Setzer and his crew with open arms and the holiday spirit." Midway through the set, Setzer played a very fun original, "Let's Shake," and practically made his guitar sing with a beautiful cover of Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk." - Edmond Ortiz (read the complete review here)
Two Ten Empire Concert Series
The much celebrated Two Ten Concert Series by The Empire Theatre and Freetail Brewing hosted a collaboration between the Youth Orchestra San Antonio and local group Deer Vibes. Over 40 members of YOSA and the 12 piece indie-rock band performed songs off their new album The Nature Of. With the help of YOSA Conductor Troy Peters and YOSA alum Darian Thomas of Femina-X, Deer Vibes adapted their new record specifically for this performance and collaboration and arguably executed one of the best installments of Two Ten Empire yet.
Brandon Cunningham opened the night with his delicate and careful songs that exhibited his gorgeous voice. The performance was very minimal: a trio made of a guitarist, Omar Rosel of fishermen on keys and synth, and then Cunningham. The overall sound teetered on the edge of southern folk mixed with a twang-less country that was just heartbreakingly beautiful. This performance both introduced me to Cunningham and won me over.
The YOSA and Deer Vibes collaboration was incredibly fun, yet maintained a discipline of academia. To this writer, it sounded very Broken Social Scene-ish with many layers and elements that filled the spectrum of sound.
The Dead Kennedys at Korova's 6th Anniversary
The most surprising thing about the Dead Kennedys show was how many out of towners were spotted on the first day. So many unfamiliar faces in the crowd means that in that moment San Antonio was one of those destination cities that people flock to for a specific event. It wasn't Austin, it wasn't Houston, it was San Antonio. The energy at the sold out show was very high, everything one could hope for at a Dead Kennedys show. The tables that circled the pillars inside the Korova that normally held drinks, were being used as spring boards for people to crowd surf, a giant circle pit took up a majority of the room in the beginning and then again at the end.
Many could and most definitely will argue that the Dead Kennedys aren't the same without Jello Biafra, but the truth is that Jello hasn't been with the band since 1986, eight years in a band that is about to turn 40 and show no signs of slowing down and Skip Greer addressed it. "I was standing outside and overheard someone saying. 'I've been waiting so long to see this band, I've been waiting to see Jello.' What the fuck are they talking about," he told the audience. Well be that as it may, seeing songs like Police Truck to Viva Las Vegas performed live (whether it be with Jello or Skip) by such a legendary band was definitely an experience. In true punk fashion, they powered through fuses blowing and instruments cutting out and ended the night with Holiday in Cambodia (of course). A show so good, it had to be repeated for a second night. If there's anyone who knows how to celebrate an anniversary, it's the Korova. - Alyssa Bunting
The Dizzease at The Mix
Saturday night at The Mix, Fuzzland Productions hosted a show with The Dizzease headlining. They really picked up the vibe of the night with their experimental bubble-gum, garagerock pop-inspired tunes. This DIY band from Austin have already self-released a quirky EP that dropped earlier this month and it's very catchy. Songs like "Play" and "Grocery Store Girl" transport you into everyday motions and feelings of wanting to go out to enjoy the sun, and seeing your favorite cashier crush at the mart. "Sticks and Stones" is an anthem for the haters with a sick guitar lead. The newly innocent and upbeat groove of this band make it hard to not fall in love with them. Sobre Sound spoke briefly keyboard player Matt Wallace about the band and he said The Dizzease are focusing on playing more gigs in San Antonio and Austin and writing more songs, so definitely do not miss them next time they stop by San Antonio to jam. - Sebastian Gutierrez