Insomniac’s camping festival at Glen Helen Regional Park is a wrap.
By: Maxwell Woodward
After 13 years, Atmosphere finally came back to San Antonio filling the house at the Paper Tiger on a picture perfect evening and threw a freakin’ awesome hip hop party for an overjoyed crowd of madly dedicated heads.
DJs Plane Ole Bill and Last Word, of “Get Cryphy," set the vibe of the ensuing party with a back and forth that spanned the hip hop spectrum. Representing half of the self-proclaimed "most rowdy get stupid go dumb rapp dance party/DJ Crew in the Twin Cities;” these guys did not disappoint. (Wax DJs for the win!)
Enter rapper Jordan Wallingford, AKA “Haphduzn,” backed by the beats of Dimitry Killstorm (Dimitry Bernstein). A relative newbie to the artist owned Rhymesayers label, this rapper kicked ass and drew in the crowd participation with a clever recount of rap history and the nature of cyclical trends in his track “Brand New Nostalgia.”
The journey continued with a hard hitting, thought provoking set by hip hop artist, speaker, and activist Brother Ali. Ali’s lyrics cut to the hearts of the captivated mob with an intensely personal delivery of his outspoken stances “… on the political, socioeconomic, and cultural suffering in modern American life.” Dude was the keynote speaker at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum this year.
When Atmosphere walked on stage after an extended intermission, the crowd exploded with a seemingly endless ovation that charged on through the rest of the night. “Slug” (Sean Daley) was visibly taken aback as the persistent roars required hushing after literally every song. Also founder of the Minnesota hip hop powerhouse known as the Rhymesayers Entertainment collective, Slug has paid his dues. His rhymes reflect a self-aware style and his track record is testament to his blue collar mentality and dedication to his craft. During their classic track, “The Woman with the Tattooed Hands,” producer and beat master Ant (Anthony Davis) literally stopped the record after the tattoos came alive, allowing the crowd to finish acappella the climax verse we took over.
This duo most definitely pleased the hungry San Antonio mass. An encore brought the whole gang back out for a couple more hits and a rap battle that closed with some skillful lines by Slug about ‘real recognizing real’ in San Antonio and throwing ‘em up like the mother fucking rodeo.
If a rising tide lifts all boats, this “city on the rise" brought the music business /scene with it. We mean it when we say: congratulations San Antonio! We’ve made national lists left and right from the NYTimes to Forbes about how SA is growing and isn’t all that bad of a place to live and work. Now, Sobre Sound is here to let everyone know, this ain’t too bad of a music town either. In addition to creating a playlist with over 70 bands that came to SA this year, we created a list with The Top Moments in Music in 2015. We absolutely cannot wait for next year. Again, congratulations to the venues, fans, musicians, promoters, sponsors, staff, bartenders and everyone who helped make 2015 one of the most memorable years in music.
#10 MOAR BANDS
Give us all of the bands! So many awesome names came to town this year. We know we're leave some of your favorites off, so please comment below and we'll fix it. Here’s a playlist of over 70 awesome names that came to SA this year. That’s more than 1 a week. How many did you get to go to?
# 9 The Rain
Art Outside, Luminaria, Maverick Music Festival, and even FunFest got rained on. SXSW 2015 received some rainy days but as a result, got substantially less crazy. Even Untapped's first installment in San Antonio almost got rained out. But all joking and fun aside, Austin, San Antonio but especially Wimberly, TX received way too much rain, please keep them in mind for your holiday donations.
#8 OPENINGS, CLOSURES and more
Phantom Room opened this past April, brought to us by the folks at Hi-Tones'. Danny Delgado said in an interview published by Rivard Report: “I love that the city is growing. There are a lot of people talking about the city right now. It’s changing fast.” La Botanica opened this year and serves up drinks and vegetarian and vegan spins on popular foods. The empty Lone Star Brewery was brought back to life and specifically for music first. Live Nation bought a controlling stake in the Aztec Theater. Paper Tiger opened (more below) during the SXSpillover and Alamo Brewery opened its doors this past March near the Hay St. Bridge and has been hosting plenty of music related events. But we did have a few closures lke Nesta and R Gallery.
# 7 fishermen at Sam’s Burger Joint
In a sold out performance, San Antonio supergroup, fishermen, packed Sam’s Burger Joint in celebration for the release of their stellar debut dual-EP’s. fishermen arguably released 2015's Best San Antonio Album and the turn out for their record release shows the love SA has for fishermen. You can read our review of fishermen's EPs HERE.
# 6 Buttercup at 7am at Cobalt
Self described as an art-rock band, San Antonio's Buttercup performed at the windowless bar Cobalt at 7 am. The gay bar on McCullough was packed upon opening for the band's performance, a move that was very .. Buttercup.
#5 Area FESTIVALS
While San Antonio doesn’t host a mega, large-scale festival like ACL, or Coachella – it might actually be a good thing. Why?
We had several smaller Festivals that provide variety, yet are not so large you can’t enjoy a couple of your favorite bands. Smaller shows spread over time costs less and you get to hear and see more music. Bands usually don't perform a full set and fans sometimes don't get to see the whole set because they don't want to miss another bands' set. San Antonio had a really good SXSPillover, Maverick Music Fest, Coors Light Summer Concert Series, Untapped Festivals first SA installment, River City Rock Fest, Texas Heritage Festival, Accordion Festival, Conjunto Festival, Fiesta, local productions like Something Good Fest, Local Music Week, South of Southtown, Fall Fall Fall Fest and even Luminaria had a substantial music presence once again.
#4 Carlton Zeus Jumps On To River Barge
In one of the most rock n’ roll moments, not just 2015, but all of music in San Antonio, Carlton Zeus jumped off The Arneson River Stage and ON TO A RIVER BARGE. The move came during the 2015 Maverick Music Festival and was followed by him crowd surfing at 502Bar in an inflatable raft.
#3 SXSW SPILLOVER:
Burger Records Hangover at Korova
The spillover from Austin this year in San Antonio was greater than in previous years for SXSW. Bands like Ice Age, Holy Child, Thee Oh Sees, Skylar Spence, King Tuff, Diarrhea Planet, Surfer Blood and more came to SA in a matter of days. Jeff The Brotherhood headlined Burger Hangover 3 at Korova on the same day their new album was released. They ended up throwin some disc golf out by NW Vista.
Standing in the middle of K23 during Monogold's “Spirit or Something” was one of those moments you pause to take it all in. The SXSpillover in San Antonio was just getting started but that night there was an electricity in the air. This was also one of the first moments I could tell K23 was going to become a fixture in SA's music scene.
Grand Opening Weekend of Paper Tiger
On March 3rd, Sobre Sound became the first news organization in San Antonio to publicly announce the new name of Paper Tiger AND also it’s short lived name “Phantom Power” (while still writing at the PunkSoda.com blog). The opening on March 20th was a huge deal. It marked the beginning of new era for music in San Antonio and was also a weekend that hosted to a number big names like Ice Age, Ryan Hemswort, King Tuff, Mitski and more.
#2 Free Tail & Majestic/Empire host Two Ten Empire Concert Series
On March 26, a giant, cartoonish dragon piñata hung over the stage at The Empire Theatre when the founder of Free Tail Brewing took to the microphone and talked about loving local music and especially Piñata Protest. He spoke about giving back to the community and partnering with the Majestic/Empire who shared a similar vision. They not only revealed their new Piñata Protest beer cans that night, they announced the Two Ten Empire Concert Series. The concert series gave local a bands a chance to pack a 856 seat, 100 year old theater and in each installment, San Antonio showed much love to our own musicians. The Two Ten Empire Concert Series brought The Lost Project, Pop Pistol, Bombasta, Black Market Club, Bombasta, Los Esta De Noche, Buttercup, Hydra Melody, Deer Vibes and more. You can read our coverage and see photos here.
#1 YOSA performs ok computer at the Tobin -
I was nervous for the performers, for the youth orchestra, and for San Antonio in general. Going into the performance, I had a feeling this was going to be a special night, but also knew there was great risk involved. The interpretation of this complex and powerful work could shake a performer or singer’s confidence and Thom Yorke’s vocals are not easy to recreate.
All “Airbag” did was increase the tension. The song was the ascent to the top of the roller coaster and the beginning of Paranoid Android didn’t relieve any of it. But once Nicholas Long of Lonely Horse got through some of the most difficult vocal gymnastics of Ok Computer, there was a collective sigh of relief, like “we can do this!”.
At Sobre Sound, we felt the stand out moment of the night was Alyson Alonzo singing “Lucky, Alonzo's comfort in the spotlight was like no other and she absolutely nailed it. Singing the words “we are standing on the edge” seemed to be sung with a bit of double entrandre, because that night, it sure as hell felt like the precipice of something great happening in San Antonio. (full review and photos here)