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Upcoming Events

+ Friday, 8/17/18 @ 5:00pm
Blue October Meet & Greet Wristband Event

+ Saturday, 8/18/18 @ 1:00pm
Poncé

+ Saturday, 8/25/18 @ 3:00pm
Howard Scott

+ Saturday, 8/25/18 @ 3:00pm
Author Session – Bob Ruggiero “Slippin’ Out of Darkness”

+ Tuesday, 8/28/18 @ 5:30pm
Meet & Greet Event – Mushroomhead (Priority Wristband)

+ Friday, 9/21/18 @ 5:30pm
Freddie Steady KRC presents Tucson

PONCE – SATURDAY, 8/18/18 @ 1:00PM

PONCÉ is a dynamic pop rock duo based in Nashville, TN consisting of twin brothers Carson and Michael Poncé. The twins efficiently cross genres; from classic, harmony-driven melodies reminiscent of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, to modern, synth-led pop productions with melodic guitar leads evocative of The Killers and HAIM.

The brothers grew up in a musical household, both taking the required one-year of piano lessons taught by their mother before she would get Carson his much desired Ibanez electric guitar or Michael’s long sought-after Percussion Plus drum set.

The twin’s debut EP ‘Afterglow’ was recorded at The Sound Emporium and produced by friend and fellow Nashville rocker, Marcus Garceau of Omega Swan. The album was largely written during the course of touring while opening up for the alternative folk / indie pop band PHOX in 2015.

HOWARD SCOTT – SATURDAY, 8/25/18 @ 3:00PM

Scott grew up in Compton, California. He began playing bass at a very young age under the guidance of his cousin, Jack Nelson, and in 1961 began playing guitar. A year later, he formed a group called the Creators with Harold Brown. Scott was influenced by blues artists TJ Summerville, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and Wayne Bennett. He frequented the local blues clubs in South Los Angeles to study professionals such as Lowell Fulson, Johnny Guitar Watson, and T-Bone Walker.

Howard graduated from Compton High School in 1964. He later formed his second group, The Night Shift, with Harold Brown. In 1969, the Night Shift was performing at the Rag Doll club in North Hollywood, when Eric Burdon and Lee Oskar stopped in to hear them play. The group quickly formed Eric Burdon & War for two years (having a hit with “Spill the Wine”) before Burdon left and War began its own highly successful career in the ‘70s and stretching into the ‘80s. They were a multiplatinum-selling act and a very popular concert draw.

Howard Scott now performs regularly with Lee Oskar and Harold Brown in the Lowrider Band, as well as his own group, the Howard Scott Project.

FREDDY STEADY KRC presents TUCSON – FRIDAY, 9/21/18 @ 5:30PM

It’s a tale of tragedy, heartbreak, desperation, love, and pursuit of the American dream, set in a time when that dream was everything. In the wild west of America in the middle 19th century, dreams were pursued, fulfilled, dashed, and altered. But always pursued. It’s how the country found its destiny gradually from the east coast to the west. From the mind of American musician Freddie Steady Krc comes the tale of Tucson, a love story set in the wild country of the developing west. The tale of a cowboy named Sonny and his undying love for Kara Lee in the face of tragedy began as a concept album originally recorded by Krc’s Shakin’ Apostles in the 1990s. Krc wrote much of the music and accompanying short story while on the road as the drummer for Jerry Jeff Walker.

But Freddie always had his own story to tell, which is why he has fronted his own bands for decades. The Apostles were his best setting for the type of music that had inspired him early on, like The Buffalo Springfield and San Francisco’s legendary Charlatans. It was the Charlatans, in fact, who inspired the ambitious venture that became Tucson, which also took great influence from Freddie’s lifetime of work in the musical melting pot of Texas, his home state. Now, twenty years after the original story became a recording, Tucson has become what it should always have been: a theatrical presentation. With the help of Dave Hargraves on guitar, Freddie will recreate these songs as a story unfolds through the narrated performance of his old friend and college classmate, John Garrison. With just three gentlemen onstage, the adventures of Sonny and Kara Lee come to life. In the face of adversity, they lived outside the lines in this paint by numbers world with the same spirit of independence that one musician named Freddie Krc has always maintained. Experience this unique theatrical concert performance as it is musically developed onstage. Hearing a song’s composer perform it live is always special. In this case, he brings it alive and takes the theater audience to old Mexico, Austin, San Francisco, and the place where dreams refuse to die, a town called Tucson.

WILD MOCCASINS – SATURDAY, 8/11/18 @ 3:00PM

Fronted by Zahira Gutierrez (vocals/keyboard) and Cody Swann (guitar/vocals), Wild Moccasins’ forthcoming third full-length serves as a new beginning for the group. Look Together tackles themes of repairing relationships, shedding insecurities, and fresh starts, with vibrant guitar and synth lines layered under Gutierrez’s soaring pop melodies. Look Together is highly pop-powered, with Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Deerhunter, Animal Collective) at the production helm. Recorded at Atlanta’s Maze studios, Allen encouraged the group to revise their approach to the writing and recording process. The result is a diverse album that blends the signature, guitar-driven elements of Wild Moccasins’ early discography with expansive electronic and ’80s/’90s pop components. The impassioned 12-track LP began to form merely a week after the release of 2014’s 88 92, as Gutierrez and Swann’s decade-long romantic relationship dissolved. Healing proved to be a burdensome task, as Wild Moccasins were charted for two years of extensive touring. Gutierrez and Swann would spend countless hours positioned in a shared tour van, painfully staring each other down on stage and ultimately exchanging exaggerated he-said-she-said’s through songwriting. For most romantically intertwined bands, Look Together would have never happened. Dissolving the group would seem to be the logical conclusion of their romantic split, but instead, the former couple chose to reconcile their differences the only way they knew how – working towards a common musical goal.

DAWES -FRIDAY, 8/10/18 @ 2:00PM

Dawes brings an intimate acoustic performance to Cactus. Last time they were here, the performance was amazing. This is another one you won’t want to miss.

On the group’s sixth album, Passwords, inspiration pulls guitarist/ singer Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Lee Pardini into their most universal, topical territory to date. This is a record about the modern world: the relationships that fill it, the politics that divide it, the small victories and big losses that give it shape. Taylor’s writing is personal at points – the result of his recent engagement, which lends a sense of gravity and self-reflection to album highlights like “Time Flies Either Way” and “I Can’t Love” – but it also zooms out, focusing not on the director himself, but on everything within the lens.

SWIMWEAR DEPARTMENT – SATURDAY, 8/4/18 @ 3:00PM

Swimwear Department’s songs are all inspired by their name.
When the band shot its 2018 Tiny Desk Contest entry in a pool, NPR’s Marissa Lorusso
called the Houston four-piece’s obsessive commitment to only writing songs about swimming
holes and shopping malls “delightfully on-brand.”

Swimwear Department’s frenetic live shows feature crowd-sourced backing vocals and dance
contests. Frontman Matt Graham dreamt of these shows when began writing for the project in
Summer 2017.

“I wanted to make music people could dance to,” says Graham, “I wanted every song to have
at least one part where everybody gets to sing. I wanted it to be fun, but uh, I never imagined
it would be this fun.”

The music features vintage beats and basslines that would be at home in Motown and
surf-rock tunes, and Jeremy Grisbee (keys) uses organ sounds reminiscent of 1960s psych
rock. Graham’s talk-singing and screams evoke early punk a la Lux Interior.
The least conventional element of the band’s sound is Ned Gayle’s over-driven bass guitar.
Gayle often pulls double duty, alternating between driving basslines and leadlines usually
reserved for a guitarist.

Swimwear Department’s debut album, Turn Over! Go Under!, is set for release in late July,
2018. The album and the live show are both peppered with moments of sincere nostalgia for
bygone summer swims and cool mall strolls. Swimwear Department reminds listeners that
everything changes, but there’s always fun to be had.

Houston Drummer, Gus Alvarado, produced the album, often says of the band, “It’s funny, but
it’s no joke.”

Check out swimweardepartment.band for sights, sounds, shows and shopping!

TEE VEE – SATURDAY, 8/4/18 @ 1:00PM

“Tee Vee is the mind and memories of Houston native Teresa Vicinanza. Known for her work as a singer and songwriter, Tee Vee encompasses her work as a producer and artist. She experiments with elements of synth pop, art pop, and dream pop. Tee Vee uses sampling, looping and layering, especially with vocal melodies and harmonies, to create an ethereal sound.”

STEVE KRASE – SATURDAY, 7/28/18 @ 1:00PM

Houston-based harmonica ace and bandleader Steve Krase moves outside the conventional blues boundaries on this outing, into Americana and Zydeco with guests skilled in those styles. Driving much of these proceedings is noted Houston producer Rock Romano who played bass, background vocals, wrote three of the tunes and used his favorite spot, The Red Shack, for the recording.

Although the album begins with Hank Williams’ “Settin’ the Woods on Fire” there are plenty of vintage blues selections, among them two relatively obscure tunes from Howlin’ Wolf (“Alll in the Mood” and “My Baby Walked Off”) and one from Big Walter Price (“Nobody Loves Me”). Perhaps the most startling tune here is their zydeco version of the Beverly Hillbillies TV theme, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.” Brian Jack adds accordion, Mike V the rubboard and James Gilmer percussion. So, in one way it might be surprising for Krase to take on this style, but it is one of the core brands of music being played in Houston today, especially since the migration from so many Louisianans after Katrina.

Krase claims that he tried to keep it simple but wanted more of an edge to the music. Perhaps the guest percussionist Gilmer (from Lyle Lovett’s band) said it best, “I love this project! It’s like Magic Dick and Peter Wolf meet Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter.”

As you may know, Krase has been instrumental in sustaining Houston’s Queen of the Blues, Trudy Lynn’s career. Having recently seen Trudy’s show, with Krase and his band, it’s fair to say that Krase is a world-class harmonica player, vastly unheralded. Krase can stand on the same stage with Kim Wilson and others who carry much bigger reputations. Paired with a pro like Romano, this is a nice example of how blues can be expanded into a swinging, fun excursion while retaining every bit of its power. www.makingascene.org

ERIKA WENNERSTROM – THURSDAY, 7/19/18 @ 5:30PM

There’s something somewhat frightening, yet utterly liberating when leaving the confines of a successful band to venture solo — especially a band whose latest record was called “effortlessly brilliant” by critics. But, such is the case with Erika Wennerstrom who is taking a break from her Austin-based rock band, Heartless Bastards, to deliver her solo debut Sweet Unknown.

“It was a really freeing experience,” reveals the singer/songwriter/guitarist. “I found my strength in my vulnerability as an artist, and really, just as a person. It kind of forced me to allow myself to be a little more exposed and stand on my own two feet. It’s easy to feel comfortable in a band, but it’s scary to do it as just yourself. I feel like I’ve grown a lot creatively and personally.”

But fans of Heartless Bastards — which has released five critically- acclaimed albums since their 2003 inception, appeared on many late night television shows, and has drawn praise from Rolling Stone, Time, New York Times — need not worry. The band has not broken up. “We’d been going for so long and everyone in the band was just ready for a little break. But I had songs in me that needed to come out. I didn’t think it was fair to push them to keep going and I didn’t want to do it without them under the band name,” explains Wennerstrom, who enlisted the help of HB’s Jesse Ebaugh to play bass on 8 of the 9 tracks on Sweet Unknown.

Fans can also rest assured that what they’ve grown to love about Wennerstrom’s music is still front-and-center. Her trademark vocals that NPR so aptly calls “warm yet gritty, throaty yet sweet, gigantic, yet intimate” are that… times 10. And the bluesy, rock vibes that Relix describes as “smoky, late night [rock] that exists somewhere between Royal Trux and the Rolling Stones” has only gotten smokier and bluesier.

So, what is the difference? “It’s just more of me,” she says. “It’s as simple as that. I was able to get deeper and you get another level of my heart and soul. And, it’s really about my journey of self-awareness and healing and finding acceptance and self-love. It’s very empowering.”

While Wennerstrom has always been honest in the Heartless Bastards songs she’s written, the 9 tracks that make up Sweet Unknown are even more personal and reflective, and for her, quite transformative as well.

“When I started writing this record, I thought about how maybe the struggles I’ve had at times in my life, and with writing, could be changed if I could put my energy and message towards others, but what I got was the most self healing I’ve ever had through the creative process. My positive message to others became my own mantra. It’s like how sometimes we need to start listening to our own advice, and singing these songs repeatedly has given myself a message I need to hear when I sing them over and over again,” she explains.

The album kicks off with the feel-good roadtrip vibes of “Twisted Highway,” which Wennerstrom says sums up her musical journey on Sweet Unknown. She explains, “‘Twisted Highway’ is the process of learning more self-awareness and self-acceptance. Writing songs over the years has forced me to do a lot of self reflection, and I haven’t always liked what I see. I really needed to change my way of thinking though. I chose to focus on the negatives within myself. I really needed to stop and take a look at what’s good in my life.”

On the somber psych-rocker “Staring Out the Window,” the artist digs even deeper into the inner workings of her mind. “It’s about discovering a pattern I established when I was young where when I’m around someone dark, unkind, or full of anger, I tend to internalize it and blame myself. I learned that sometimes we feel comfortable around people that aren’t good for us because they feel familiar, but that can be the unhealthy pattern. I had to learn how to love myself more and break this pattern,” she says.

Wennerstrom attributes her deep emotional journey, in part, to two pivotal trips in the past year, which resulted in 400 voice notes on her phone with various lyric and melody ideas. “I went down to the Amazon jungle in 2015 right before the last Heartless Bastards record, Restless Ones, was released. I was at a point where I was deeply unhappy, and on a whim, I decided to do an Ayahuasca [pronounced eye-uh-wah-ska] retreat. Despite the idea frightening me, I felt I needed something to change with in me so bad that I had nothing to lose. It really opened the door and started me on a path to many self realizations,” she says.

Ayahuasca (an Amazonian hallucinagenic plant used in Shamanic healing ceremonies) is often used to help people break through emotional and creative barriers. For Wennerstrom, the experience helped her let go of the push-and-pull of ego and self-doubt. “It helped me be free to be honest with myself and put out what I think is my most honest record ever. It used to take me a while to get to that vulnerable place in my writing, but I got there faster this time. It just felt easier, more natural, and not as much second-guessing,” she says.

The upbeat and optimistic “Letting Go” epitomizes that experience. “It’s about letting go of what doesn’t serve me anymore. I came to the realization that we all as human beings have an inner struggle. Sometimes even people that have so much are hard on themselves with a sense of guilt. We’re all just doing the best we can in each moment. Some maybe more consciously than others. Perhaps it’s my limited perspective, but I feel it’s the human condition — an ancient feeling,” she says.

Soon after the band decided to take a hiatus the following year, she also spent quite a bit of time hiking and reflecting in the mountains of West Texas in Big Bend National Park. Explaining the impact of that trip, she says, “That’s where a lot of the ideas for the album came to me, and I spent the next year working on it. The song “Extraordinary Love” is the realization I do everything in my life for love. We all want to be liked and to give and receive love. If I can’t be kind and loving to myself how can I expect anybody else to. It’s starts with me. I find the most extraordinary thing is to be truly compassionate to yourself.”

“Good To Be Alone” is just one sonic outcome of her Big Bend trip. “I wrote this one right after a long tour, and with it being one of the last ones the band did before our hiatus, I had quite a lot to think about. I did a big hike that day in Big Bend and the seeds for the idea were planted. I was so thankful for that time alone to recharge and ponder. This song expresses how deeply introverted I can be at times and how sometimes I just need to step away and take some time for myself,” she says.

Clearly, that time alone was time well-spent. With Sweet Unknown, Erika Wennerstrom bravely invites the listener in to experience her trials and tribulations of life amidst a lush soundscape of deeply emotive vocals and melodies to what is ultimately the soundtrack to her soul.

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