Satellite D'Homme, Roky Moon & BOLT! Fitzgerald's March 29, 2014
I've been in a few bands in my life. Not many -- actually, at this point in my life I've probably spent more minutes looking at the Internet than I have playing music. Which is sad. But not really, because I never had that true passion to make playing music into a career.
But I do have many friends who have that passion. So I know just how hard it is to start a band, that right three or four or ten people to collaborate with who also share your vision with what you'd like to do as a band. It's nearly impossible, and if you do find those people, it's rarer still to do anything of substance.
Saturday night's showcase at Fitzgerald's featured two different bands with two very different stories. On top of the bill was a brand-new project called Satellite D'Homme, a direct collaboration between the guys in Tax The Wolf and Juzcoz. Supporting them were onetime Houston kings-of-the-castle, Roky Moon & BOLT!, in their first local show in nearly two years since Roky Moon disbanded BOLT! and headed to Austin. So their presence on this bill was a bit of a surprise.
So in one hand we had a brand-new project from a proven group of players. In the other was a group so far removed from their heyday that the idea almost felt unnatural when first seeing their name on the bill. Going in, I was a bit skeptical of BOLT! and most excited about Satellite D'Homme.
I left feeling much differently. Just like in the past, BOLT! left me feeling all tingly inside. On the other hand, Satellite D'Homme left me a bit underwhelmed, or at least that they had been overshadowed by Roky Moon & BOLT!'s return to form after such a long hiatus.
Not surprisingly, the latter brought the biggest crowd of the night; obviously more than half of the audience was there just to see them. Roky Moon (still known to friends and family as Mike Hardin) started off a bit rusty on his vocals, but once he dusted off the cobwebs it wasn't an issue. BOLT! were never rusty from the get-go.
Guitarist Aaron Echegaray was a focal point from the beginning, ripping through guitar solo after guitar solo supported by a BOLT! that had no problem evoking the many spirits of David Bowie. They were on point from the first song, and didn't let up until the end of the set. Their sound was as -- I hate this word, but it's only fitting with this band -- epic as I've ever heard them, and with the many fists pumping into the air throughout the crowd, made me wonder how they could have ever disbanded in the first place.
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After a brief break, Satellite D'Homme took the stage for the first time in Houston towards the stroke of midnight. They all looked excited walking onstage, which also seemed to buzz through the many friends and family that crowded up front of the stage. It had been a while since Tax the Wolf had done anything, so to see something new from them (albeit not quite the same group) it was nice to see them all on the stage again.
But Tax the Wolf it certainly wasn't. They reminded me most of TV on the Radio, but much more dancey and soulful with a random rap or two thrown in for good measure. It was fun music that certainly seems like it's going places. They definitely found the right group of collaborators, because you could tell they were all up there for the same purpose, and all really enjoyed what they were doing onstage.
And that's what mattered most at this show. Satellite D'Homme just started, so they will assuredly have many more opportunities to tighten it up; for a first show, though, it was pretty damn good. I have a feeling good things will come out of this group, but I hope next time they actually get some use out of that pearly white keytar instead of just teasing us with it.
Personal Bias: I'm always game for new local live music, plus it was just really good to see Roky Moon & BOLT! again. It's felt like no time at all since I photographed their record release for American Honey back in 2011.
The Crowd: Tons of friends and family. I think there were more people backstage at certain times throughout the night than were actually watching the music.
Overheard In the Crowd: It was hard to hear much of anything. The speakers were turned up to at least 11.
Random Notebook Dump: I really hope this isn't a one-time affair for Roky Moon & BOLT!. They really need to be seen by people and not become one of those forgotten bands of years past. I don't think anyone wants that.
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