The guys over at 8th Wonder are no stranger to delivering exactly what Houstonians desire, which mostly boils down to producing a delicious product in the most adventurous and amusing way possible. What began with the Eatsie Boys' "Intergalactic Food Truck" and continued with the "Mmmontrose Cafe" has now been rounded out with the craft brewery located in East Downtown.
This past Friday, a pleasantly cool and overcast spring evening, the portion of Dallas Street between Hutchins and Dowling was closed off for what was billed as 8th Wonder's one-year anniversary "celebr8ion." Because the people of H-town love their beer, the street quickly filled up after the party kicked off at 6 p.m.; early attendees were treated to the sounds of Bagheera, Josiah Gabriel and Poor Pilate.
We arrived just in time to hear the psych-pop offerings of local rockers Featherface, who were fresh off their first-ever official SXSW showcase. The foursome originally from Friendswood combine the smooth and brooding melodies with a forceful and determined fashion of sound which not only captures the imagination, but also rattles the eardrums.
The mood of the crowd, undoubtedly aided by 8th Wonder's potent brews, was lively and carefree. Friends laughed, strangers met and groups of hipsters joined in the merriment with corporate types traveling east in order to enjoy the beginning of their weekend freedom. Food trucks provided sustenance, while T-shirt vendors Cadera and Fuck You Houston's Awesome delivered their cool threads to the masses. A handful of artists from Aerosol Warfare were also on hand to provide visual stimulation.
The Young Mammals presented what was perhaps the loudest set of the night, with ear-piercing feedback somehow seamlessly corralled and mixed into their tracks, and the giddy pop-rock tunes providing an upbeat soundtrack to the inebriated mob. With a less complicated yet supremely enticing sound, the band reminds us of a harder '60s offshoot, with enough power and energy to light a million street lamps.
Once Ishi hit the stage, the sun had set and the audience was ready for their extreme dance party. The band thrives in providing an experience to their fans, which includes costume changes and dance breakdowns, all grooving in unison with the cosmic wave of sound offered by their instruments. Their guitarist certainly took advantage of the platform to showcase his skills, delivering mesmerizing guitar riffs and solos.
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The electronic notes migrated from the stage into the crowd, with every human within earshot hooked into the electro-buzz dance party that floated in the cool air like a wave of euphoria and lust. The track "Disco Queen" embodies the band's mantra, asking the listener to "look into your eyes" and wait until the "beat drops, and we collide."
Once JT Mudd donned his Zulu Nation costume and delivered the track "Mother Prism" into the crowd, the night ended with a perfect combination of funky beats, chanting, and performance art. A funkier dance party than this will be hard to come by as Ishi delivers the beats better than anyone we have ever seen or heard.
Good beer, good friends, and great music. Sounds like a perfect Friday night, and it was.
Personal Bias: I like beer. I like music. Both together equal utopia.
The Crowd: Cool and beautiful, Montrose to River Oaks.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Are you drunk yet? Good. Let's dance!" -- Suffers singer Kam Franklin
Random Notebook Dump: Block parties are the best parties.
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