Ed. Note: This past weekend, Houston alternative/screamo rockers The Last Place You Look opened for Unwritten Law in Lubbock, Odessa, and Austin, and invited Rocks Off's Matthew Keever along. See links for Part 1 and Part 2.
After two nights in a row of somewhat disappointing turnouts, The Last Place You Look were excited to hear that Sunday night's gig at Emo's in Austin was sold out. Finally, all the great music Rocks Off had been listening to for the past 48 hours would get the appreciation it deserved.
And hopefully, Authority Zero, Electric Touch and TLPYL would be able to sell enough merchandise and sign enough people up for their mailing lists to make the trip worthwhile.
Unfortunately, it was a misprint.
It wasn't a sold-out crowd; in fact, it was far from it. For the third night in a row, we watched as four bands put on a strong showing, screaming, singing and playing to the best of their abilities to a small crowd.
But for the third night in a row, it didn't seem to faze anyone.
Everyone was all smiles, all night. And with the exception of having a limited selection of restaurants at which we could eat - it was, after all, Easter Sunday - the show went off without a hitch.
TLPYL's set enthralled those in attendance, including a young woman we met with a Last Place You Look tattoo; Electric Touch got their hometown fans singing along to songs about Nottingham, the birthplace of the band's lead singer (and Robin Hood); Authority Zero drew the crowd into a small but energetic mosh pit; and Unwritten Law finished the night with plenty of pop-punk anthems.
Before bringing his son onstage to sing the second verse of "Seeing Red" for the second night in a row (above), Unwritten Law's Scott Russo addressed the crowd with enough expletives to make up for his band's lack thereof in their music, but not before telling his son, "Earmuffs, buddy."
Russo then knelt by his son's side, put his arm around the young boy's waist and finished the song on one knee with the help of his kid. It was touching, and the crowd loved it.
Touring isn't for the faint of heart. It's not easy on your wallet, your state of mind or your personal life. Your friends miss you at home, you're constantly rationalizing why you're doing what you're doing, and you spend way too much money on gas.
But all these guys love it, and they've all earned everything they've got. We're proud to call some of them Houstonians, and even more proud that half of them are Texans.
These gentlemen have earned the respect and adoration of thousands, and even after all the hard work, they don't hesitate to put even more time, energy and money into their art.
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So the next time an unsigned band comes through town, and you get the chance to hear their tunes, take the time to really listen to them and try to talk to them after the show. From what we've seen, both this weekend and in our time as music lovers before then, they'll be happy to talk with you and share their stories.
And who knows? You might discover some new music that you love, and you might even make a few new friends.