The Maverick Music Festival was a whirlwind of
bands, vendors, and San Antonio charm. KRTU's Indie Overnight had the pleasure
of sponsoring and covering this up and coming festival. Check out Matt, Joseph
Erik, and Elena's thoughts and reviews from the festival and Michelle's
photography from this two day event.
Roky Erikson was the first show I caught at the
Maverick Music Festival this past weekend and it was a good way to kick off the
weekend. Roky has lived a colorful and exciting life both onstage and off.
Playing onstage since he was 18, his comfort with the stage was evident while
he played a fairly tame set. However, tame definitely does not mean boring.
Never leaving center stage or speaking, he sang with a passion that was sadly
lacking in some of the other bands that would take the stage later that day.
While some members of the audience found it understated and by the book, I
disagree. This was good old rock n roll with a slight Texas twang. I thoroughly
enjoyed the sincerity and tunes that Roky was throwing down.
The Joy Formidable
The Joy Formidable put on a solid show that was
unfortunately struck with a slew of sound problems for the first 10 minutes of
their act. Lead vocals were not properly mic'd for the first song and the drums
were suppressed for the first half which made for a rocky start. But those
problems aside, the Joy Formidable entertained us and each other thoroughly
with their set. The band commands an impressive stage presence, Ritzy wooed us
with tunes from both of their released albums, the drummer, Matthew Thomas, stood
on his set and practically tackled Rhydian Dafydd on bass. The entire set was a
flirtatious affair and set the mood wonderfully for Washed Out and Phantogram
later on in the night.
Washed gave a great performance of an excessively
layered and surprisingly acoustic show. I feel like everyone under the age of
30 likes Washed Out, and that was the crowd set-up for the night. I even saw a
10 year old boy walking into the VIP section for Washed Out’s performance.
Either way, having heard Washed Out before, and not bowing to the east five
times a day for them, I was ready to watch the fingers on a MIDI pad fly;
however, to my surprise, Ernest Greene, master of the stationary keyboard
head-bob, started with an acoustic guitar and had a full band with him! It was
nice to see Greene incorporating a band for his performance, but this would
lead to some other growing pains. Along with Greene’s acoustic guitar came four
synthesizers and two drum pads, excluding the drum set, electric guitar and
bass. At one point, I saw Greene playing a triad with one hand, the second
guitarist playing the lead, and the girl in the back playing something, which I
have no clue what it was. This kind of setting, whether it was doubled on the
synths or the drum pads, continued for most of the night. The incorporation of
this full band setting was a nice surprise for me, but the translation from
tracks on computer to a full band could use some work. The performance was
smooth, and I’m pretty sure Washed Out was the first band to not have sound
problems, so overall a good performance from Ernest Greene and all those who
imitated his computer with him
-Joseph Erik Montano
Phantogram is an expertly articulated group who
commands a stage presence unlike any of the other bands that night. Their
minimal setup on stage represented the blend of acoustic and electric sounds
that they are so fond of on their records. Not all of the songs are exactly the
most exciting or great songs(at one point she called one of their ballads the
kind of song that you wave your lighters too, sooo…. Yea, I shut down after
that one), but they all knew how to work the stage and how to maintain their
energy in a somewhat awkward venue; however, the reflection that their setup
initiated also led to a static translation from the albums to the stage. There
weren’t any surprises or anything unexpected that you can’t get from listening
to the albums. Although the music that was coming from the stage was not
anything new from the albums, it was nice to see a strong and confident
performance from those who know how to feed themselves off of stage energy.
-Joseph Erik Montano
Lonely Horse is probably one of the biggest trending
bands in San Antonio right now. As I walk around San Antonio, I hear people
asking each other if they’re going to the Lonely Horse show. So it was nice to
see Lonely Horse getting a slot on the main stage that only one other local
band would get. Although Lonely Horse has an energy like no other, there are
still adjustments to make when you stand on platform that is five feet above
the ground, with a giant sound system into a huge open area with a an audience
that does not move easily. Johnny made good use of the space around him and his
noise sets and effects translated well through the system. There were some
awkward tensions as Johnny begged the audience to dance and the few that were
there refused. Even with some of these pains of being on the big boy stage,
Lonely Horse has shown that they have the ability to grow and are ready for
more stage time.
-Joseph Erik Montano
Part of the reason Rock Angels may have been a bit
dull is because YACHT was anything but. Probably my favorite show of the entire
festival, Claire Evans is an absolute fireball on stage singing absurdly catchy
lyrics and infecting the audience with her dance moves. She simultaneous
infatuated and seduced when she hopped off stage and pulled people right up to
her face and sang with only the microphone separating their lips. Characterized
by heavy synths, vocoders, French, and tons of personality, their sound is
shamelessly electronic pop and damn fun.
I’m hesitant to be critical of bands as they put
their heart and soul into what they do but Black Angels was incredibly
disappointing. The heart was missing from their set, looking like they were
just playing for the paycheck. Every song sounded exactly the same, the similar
chords, similar lyrics, similar melodies, and similar everything. They had
opportunities to capture the audience when they sped up the time but that
became rote too. Singing with a Texas twang and rather upbeat tone, these guys
don’t play bad music by any means and it could be somebody’s cup of tea. I’d
play it while writing or concentrating on some task but it’s not something
where I would sit down and honestly listen.
These guys have been around for a while and know
what it means to rock. Playing a set that spanned from their 1993 self-titled
album to their 2012 Love Stories & Other Musings, it was a nice tour
through the last 20 years of Candlebox’s evolution as a rock band. And there is
no other way to describe them. They are a rock band through and through.
Screaming and spittle was flung around along with the microphone while they
picked up the audience and relentlessly shoved us along. The audience loved it,
the band loved it, and I loved it. It was an experience and really set the tone
for the Psychedelic Furs to take the stage later that night.
Run the Jewels
I’m not sure I have ever seen a weirder and more
wide-spread range of humans at a festival than I have at the Maverick music
festival. From the eight year old boy at Washed Out, to the Hispanic league of
family members at Candlebox, and to the typical hipster crowd at Joy Formidable,
there has never such an awkward bunch (probably a trademark of San Antonio).
Run the Jewels was, strangely enough, one of the only bands to reach them all.
Killer Mike and EL-P were surprisingly encouraging of the confused San Antonio
crowd and got them chant “RUN THE JEWELS” at any moment. Along with their
pretty talented DJ, Run the Jewels made use of the stage and reached everyone
in the strange crowd with ease.
-Joseph Erik Montano
After having been a little disappointed by some of
the earlier bands on Saturday, Twin Shadow was the perfect band to catch that
night. Each song had a lot of power and layers and while they sounded original
and had a lot of variety, the songs were also just repetitive enough to be
catchy so even a new audience could sing along. When he performs, George Lewis
Jr. commands the stage and audience, interacts well with them, and knows how to
capture attention and draw it to his music. Although Twin Shadow is
specifically focused on him, the songs aren’t vocal-heavy and include strong
beats between the drums and keyboards. All of these factors make Twin Shadow
enjoyable to hear at home, but they translated even better into an amazing live
performance that I was sad to see end.
The Psychedelic Furs
The Psychedelic Furs were the last band I caught at
Maverick but definitely stood out the most to me. Of course, the musicians were
older than all the other bands, but they seemed to have the most personality
and stage presence. Richard Butler, the lead singer, was incredibly exuberant
and almost flamboyant with his hand motions and dances, and the rest of the
band looked like they were having just as much fun. Like the musicians, the
songs themselves had a lot of variety and took turns focusing on drums, sax,
guitar, bass, and keyboard. It’s rare to see a band right now that includes
sax, which was a welcome change, especially since Mars Williams wasn’t just
playing in the background, but often took center stage. Each instrument created
its own layer in a song and sometimes they fit perfectly together and other
times they were disjointed enough to highlight them individually. With all
these different layers, technical skill, and personality, The Psychedelic Furs
were one of the most original and enjoyable shows I saw, and the perfect way to
end the festival.
Arneson River Stage
Dark Planes is a great punk band to watch. They are
all veterans of the rock-n-roll world and know how to guide their music to an
audience. It truly is a strange mix of internal stage performance that somehow
reaches the audience; however, upon getting to the stage, I noticed a fourth
member in the band, one that I had not recognized as playing with Dark Planes.
It was Nick Federico, who I know has played in the band Last Nighters. This new
addition could not have been a better one. The second guitar allows more
freedom and independence of lines for each instrument while maintaining
fullness of sound throughout the performance. Dark Planes no longer has to
worry about filling the sound or a loss of sound as some takes a solo, and this
allows for such a dynamic show, even more so than they already had. They’re
energy on stage was fantastic, even with the separation across the river on the
Arneson theatre, and the sound was a great new refresher.
-Joseph Erik Montano
Crown is a fantastic local band that vomits energy
and showmanship. Tasting vaguely of surf, blues, and psychedelic rock, they
played with an almost overwhelming bass and a melody best described as
haunting. The bass may have been a side effect of the stage and sound but it
did not lessen their vibe at all. Each song was characterized by Carlos
Zubillaga waxing poetic over quieted instruments and then loud helter-skelter,
hair everywhere rock. While the venue was slightly awkward, the band was
comfortable interacting with the audience and even congratulated a newly-wed
couple as their riverboat slowly meandered through their set. A talented group
of guys, Crown knows how to put on an entertaining show and should be on your
list of up and coming San Antonio bands.
I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from Carlton
Zeus, having never really heard his music before. I listened to one song online
before Maverick, but honestly, he sounded very different live. The sound levels
seemed a bit off, with the drums and beats much louder than Carlton Zeus
himself. However, his rapping reached impressive speeds and though the songs
were somewhat repetitive, the entire show felt like one big party. I’ve never
seen an audience with such a wide age range that were all equally excited to be
there and sing along. The show included tossing shirts across the river to the
audience with incredible aim and taking pictures with the crowd. I’d imagine
that it’d be difficult as a musician to really get an audience excited at a
venue with mostly seats, but at Carlton Zeus, the crowd was dancing anyway.
Even the riverboat drivers passing by joined in, making it a memorable and fun
FEA was a band I stumbled across and would never
have discovered without Maverick and I’m glad I did. They stood out to me from
the other bands I saw with their unique style. Their sound is more aggressive
than a lot of the other artists, especially from the vocals, but with the
prominent drums and guitar, they all get equal focus and work well together.
Their songs are fast, intense, and also cover a wider range of topics than any
other band I saw. The lyrics, especially to songs like “Blame Yourself” were
interesting and grabbed my attention. Especially live, FEA was a great
When I was planning my coverage of SXSW I decided that my overarching theme would be “SXSW: How Cheaply can I make this happen?” So armed with $80 and a free place to stay I hoped on a $6 mega bus ride to Austin, excited for whatever the music gods had in store for me. As per my carefully planned out schedule (that also included multiple alternatives and a penciled in plan to throw it all away after a couple of hours) I headed out on Wednesday.
I first stopped at the “Spotify House” where I had, well exactly the sort of experience one is supposed to have at SX. I got there early and was greeted by free booze, chips, and sunglasses. The venue had multiple stage areas, allowing for an intimate concert experience. The Spotify logo wasn’t on every surface, and I really did like the set up.
I had come to see Dum Dum Girls, and by my bosses recommendation Hozier who has one of the most powerful voices I’ve heard in a long time. He apologized for his throat being sore but he still sounded brilliant- a perfect mix of earnesty and confidence that came without being overbearing. Quickly after that Mutual Benefit of Brooklyn performed on a different, smaller stage. They've got a chill but startling vibe. Its sounds like something you would get if you mixed together Washed Out and early Animal Collective. Although I had never heard them they are definitely a band I will return to from now on.
Finally the act I had been waiting for came on. Dum Dum Girls have really mastered that balance between generating a solid stage act without taking themselves too seriously. Of course they sounded great, moving through a 30 min. set of both recent and older tracks. Then I had the magical SXSW moment I had been promised. For their last song lead singer Dee Dee invited up an unannounced guest none other than Deborah Harry of Blondie. Phones came out, cameras flashed, but there was surprisingly little freaking out. Dum Dum Girls had a great time though; all of them actually smiled, a rarer occurrence than seeing Deborah Harry herself.
Dum Dum Girls with Deborah Harry. Photo From Austin 360.
Now by all measures this should have been the time of my life. But it wasn’t. The nature of SXSW demanded that the day shows sped by with 30 min sets and I never felt like I had time to invest myself in a set. I wandered around the rest of the afternoon but I felt overwhelmed in a new way. Yeah, of course I felt jaded by the intense marketing presence and commercialization so often criticized in the media, but there was something else bothering me. I constantly felt a pressure to move on to the next thing and a worry that I might miss something, when really there was more than enough going on in front of me. The whole experience made me feel greedy almost. I had a fantastic experience, for free. Why was I out chasing more? For me atmosphere of Austin that day seemed to center around telling rather than doing. It felt like people wanted to collect experiences to post about, to blog about, gather pictures to share, or dare I say it gain bragging rights, rather than just slow down and appreciate the moment.
I realize not everyone’s SXSW experience is like this, and I realize not all SXSW shows generate that sort of atmosphere (Our Music For Listeners showcases at El Sappo are a great example of a easy going atmosphere with fantastic music). But when I was called back to San Antonio for personal reasons I took the first ride I could get. I may be young, and Austin may be hip, but it’s overwhelming. I was perfectly happy to go home to S.A., a city where I actually belong.
-Michelle Padley is the Promotions Assistant for Indie Overnight. You can here her on air Monday nights at 10 p.m.
If you thought that the spring brought only pollen and SXSW
envy to San Antonio, you’d be wrong. Last year a faint strain of local music
began to emanate from our city, catching the ear of people far beyond here, people who have begun to hear and pay attention to what the Alamo City
has to offer. The Spring Equinox marks the commencement of the annual two day long
Maverick Music Festival. A landmark event in San
Antonio’s music scene that you’d be remiss to miss.
The Maverick Music Festival
originated in 2013 as a one day festival that featured the likes of Gary Clark
Jr., Girl in a Coma, and the Toadies. This year
Maverick has decided that only one day is not near enough to showcase the
talent of the Alamo City. So in 2014, you have the opportunity to gorge yourself on two days of festival goodness this weekend, the 21st
and 22nd of March. Stepping into the historic La Villita Arts
Village in Maverick Plaza this weekend you will hear a variety of top notch
local artists including Pop Pistol, Lonely Horse, Dark Planes, along with
several up and coming artists such as Hydra Melody and Saakred. Oh and
Phantogram, Washed Out, and the Joy Formidable will be playing as well. And
that’s just on Friday. 2014 promises a show that will not easily be forgotten
and promises a festival that is sky rocketing. This weekend let your body soak
up and be satisfied by the sounds of San Antonio that Maverick is serving up
KRTU is sponsoring and covering the festival so stop by our festival booth, talk to us, and get some swag. If you aren't attending, get all of your Maverick Music Festival coverage right here at our blog. And for the instant DL Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @KRTUindie
For 2012’s Record Store Day, Annie
Clark knocked the wind out of all those familiar with her music with the
“Krokodil”/”GROT” 7”, which took a sharp left turn from the unnervingly
mannered indie pop of her first three records straight into a sweaty, violent
mosh pit. Her full lengths have all been marked by a push-pull between a
creeping sense of foreboding (which made Actor
in particular so compelling) and a nervous, rattled energy (which was slightly
more pronounced on 2011’s Strange Mercy).
The songs on St. Vincent tend generally
to skew more towards the latter than in the past, which goes some way towards
making this Clark’s most immediately engaging album yet. And while there’s
nothing here to match the sheer visceral power of that single, there’s no less
subversion or experimentation going on throughout.
important, because while all the signifiers of St. Vincent’s music are
here--ghostly background vocals layered to sound like bad keyboard presets,
sparing but deliberate displays of guitar virtuosity, etc.—they’re used to
brighter, stranger ends, and the results can be as bracing as they are familiar.
There’s no way, for example, that a song like “Bring Me Your Loves” should work,
mashing together as it does a heavily-processed dial-tone guitar riff with
simultaneously squealing and buzzing synths over a high school marching band
drumbeat, with Clark’s double-tracked, distorted vocals barely keeping things
grounded; for all that, it’s one of the most thrilling indie-pop songs yet to
be released this year, and it’s surrounded by songs that match or surpass it
for sheer replay value. Among these are the hyperactive “Birth in Reverse”,
featuring some of her most impressive guitar acrobatics, the patiently building
“Every Tear Disappears”, and “Digital Witness”, whose horn-led, Love This Giant-esque strut calls to
mind Actor’s “Marrow”. Where that
song was a desperate cry for help, however, this song is a self-absorbed plea
for attention – “I want all of your mind… if I can’t show it, if you can’t see
me/what’s the point in doing anything?”
lyrics elsewhere on the album can often be as off-kilter and surreal as the
music, if not more so; the playful “oh-oh-ohs” and bouncy synths of opener
“Rattlesnake” dress up an apparently true story of a near-death encounter with
the titular animal in the Texas desert. “Huey Newton”, by turns clinically
funky and aggressively fuzzy, is a disjointed stream-of-consciousness (“Feelings/flashcards/fake
knife/real ketchup/cardboard/cutthroats/cowboys of information”) that gives way
to a lament of technology’s effect on the narrator’s mind, “entombed in a
shrine of zeroes and ones”. Fortunately, St.
Vincent is equally compelling when it’s not letting its freak flag fly so
high. The album’s ballads - “Prince Johnny”, “I Prefer Your Love”, and “Severed
Crossed Fingers” – may lack the unsettling tension of her previous work, but
they make up for it with confident, sticky melodies and some of Clark’s most
illuminatingly personal writing. “Prince Johnny” in particular is the sort of subtle,
compelling character study that Lana Del Rey’s been trying to write forever now
(“You traced the Andes with your index/and brag of when and where and who
you’re gonna bed next”), and it’s got a heart-fluttering chorus to boot. The
song’s attention to detail, both lyrical and musical, is emblematic of Clark’s
approach throughout St. Vincent; the
most deliberate moments here are always the most brilliant.
- Solomon Umana Solomon is currently in the KRTU Apprenticeship Class at Trinity He'll have his own show any time now.
We asked you, our faithful followers to submit stories of a time when you met a special someone at a music show. A few brave souls had some things to say:
1) I met this dude at acl. He gave me cigs in return for vodka and we exchanged numbers. But then he talked over Tame Impala so I gave up.
2)The venue was loud. Loud enough that she couldn’t hear me unless I leaned in all the way to shout in her ear. For almost an hour I was making small talk just for the chance to keep smelling her hair. It’s a funny type of conversation when you have to really, actually take turns speaking. You make your lame joke and you have to lean back again waiting, praying that you see her crack a warm smile. To be honest, I can barely remember the music. It was any music, it was all music. Every good song is a love song, one way or another. Not always about a person, not always about people, but every good song is a love song. It’s surprisingly intimate among the crowding, the pushing, the general chaos of a concert. I guess that’s how life is, though. Love is the quiet place in the noise of everything else. Our little magical ability to be and not to be. You know the drill by this point: the utterly adolescent brushing of hands, the growing pressure towards decisive movement, the awkward relief of contact, the strange and wonderful feeling of unfamiliar fingers laced between your own, the sense of standing on a looming precipice -- the future suddenly made vast and incomprehensible. The music moves through all of this, the joy and the sound of the music made tangible through volume, the twin heartbeats of body and drum, the confident swagger of the lead guitar, the crooning flips and swirls of a keyboard, the thrumming reassurance of the bass. Maybe there’s spilled beer and shoes stuck to concrete and a sickly sweet smell of sweat and marijuana smoke. Maybe it’s a cold, bracing shock to finally step out into the night, maybe the warm Southern air holds you both closer than you hold one another. It has happened before, it will happen again.
3) This dude took me to see radiohead and I found myself falling in love yet again...with radiohead.
I saw The Front Bottoms at Limelight on January 24. For me The Front Bottoms were always a band I listened to when I was in a specific mood. Their songs were for journal writing, being a little frustrated about too much homework, or a slightly awkward summer afternoon with a new friend. The Front Bottoms were never a band I listened to for an upbeat, make-my-life-feel-like-a-movie kind of indie moment. Regardless, I've loved them for awhile because they've always stood out to me, even if I felt their songs were for only specific life moments. I could talk a lot about why I love this band, from Brian Sella's unique voice, to their rhythm, lyrics, and writing style. However, this show added another reason because I had an experience I've never had before: at this show their music was completely transformed for me.
The angsty quality is one of my favorite things about The Front Bottoms, and so somehow I expected that vibe to translate into their show. But I was surprised because performed live even the most depressing lyrics from "Maps" or "Father" were given this distinct sense of energy and life. The music was undeniably the sound I love from The Front Bottoms, but it was presented with this entirely new feeling. Since this show, I've listened to their songs about once a day this past week, in a lot of different moods. I haven't been to many shows in my life, but I still haven't had this experience before, so I think this makes The Front Bottoms special. I feel like this kind of show is how live music "should" be, if we're going to go there. The songs felt new and familiar at the same time. The band was funny, told us stories about being in Vegas, and made jokes about their long drive later that night. It all felt genuine and the audience connected to all of that. The show was authentic and I can't wait to go to another one.
Elena is the Development Intern at KRTU
You can hear her on air Tuesday mornings (Monday Nights) at 12 a.m.