Anova SkywayPhoto by Auliya West, courtesy of Anova Skyway
Nothing about Anova Skyway suggests caution. The veteran Houston progressive rockers create music that challenges listeners to ponder heavy issues. The band performs their technically-precise music without abandon live. But, lately it has taken a measured approach to taking that music to listeners outside the Houston area. That changes this weekend when the band begins a tour of Texas cities in support of its recent release, A Light in the Darkness.
“This is our first small run of out of town dates with the current lineup,” explained Garret West, the band’s lead vocalist. “I played a San Antonio date with them a couple of years ago. But it was one date. Now that I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I'm going to try to expand our audience there as well. We are excited about this run coming up. I think the Austin date in particular is going to open some doors for us. I'd love to tour out of state eventually. Baby steps.”
This Saturday’s show at BFE Rock Club is a tour kick-off, of sorts. Saturate, Para Bellum, Homesick Alien and Seven to Emote are all on the bill of a show that’ll take place in friendly confines and ahead of Anova Skyway's mid-March Texas tour. From there, the band heads to Austin’s Dirty Dog Bar for a SXSW set, a date at Recuerdos Bar in McAllen and a San Antonio gig before closing the run back home at Warehouse Live on March 31 with To Whom It May, Great White Fire, Recreating Eden and Sensitiser. West said it’s a busy moment for this variation of the band. The current lineup includes West on vocals, Andrew Alvarez and Mike Palacios on guitars, drummer Michael Marksberry and Cory Miles on bass.
“The band today has evolved immensely since 2011. I joined in 2014 and Cory joined in 2016, so it's nowhere near the same band that it was back then. I do think that the work the rest of the guys put in toward the beginning has helped us cement our place in the music scene of Houston and yet, to many people who hear us for the first time, the new stuff is us at that point in time. So you always get something different,” West noted.
What listeners are getting in heavy doses from the band now is A Light in the Darkness. The album released last October and is available on all major music platforms. To get a glimpse of its 11 tracks, check out the video for “Flutters.” Anova Skyway released the clip last week for the album-closing song and it's thick with the mood of the album.
“A Light in the Darkness is our first attempt at a concept album and people are receiving it better than I could have ever dreamed for us being an unsigned act,” West shared. “It follows a man who lost his life and is being ferried into the afterlife. It is closely based on Dante's work but with a modern spin. We pay tribute to people we lost in our own personal lives with a few of the songs as he meets souls on the river.
“We connected with my good friend Chris Warren, of Warrhouse Films, to put together some videos for us as a visual tool for the concept. He's done a great job,” West continued. “As far as videos go, Chris has stated he really wants to do a video for every song, but I doubt we will be able to film much more before we release new material. But we might get a couple more out there. Who knows? Those guys write like crazy. We already have pre-production going on the next album.”
Nothing about Anova Skyway suggests caution, so it's riding its creative momentum towards new projects; but first, it’s going to take the time to take its current catalog of songs to new listeners.
“We get very into our music. Our goal is to make it sound as close to the album as we can without sacrificing showmanship. I'm not a spectator though, so you'll have to see a show to get the full effect,” West said. “We like beer and we welcome new friends at every show. It seems that every show we play we make at least one new fan. So if you really want to get the full effect, come to a show...and buy us a beer.”
Anova Skyway ramps up for its Texas tour Saturday, February 24 at BFE Rock Club, 11528 Jones. With Saturate, Para Bellum, Homesick Alien and Seven to Emote. 8 p.m. Use this link for a $10 ticket and get a free download of A Light in the Darkness.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.