Mellow Vibe Prevails At HPMA Afterparty

It had been a while since Aftermath had been to Dean's, and we were happy to find the place packed after the HPMA ceremony; near the end of last night's ceremony, Warehouse Live had nearly cleared out before it had even ended, so we were a bit worried that the afterparty would be a dud.

It wasn't.

By the time we showed up a little after 11 p.m., The Fox Derby and Spain Colored Orange had already played. Aftermath came straight from the ceremony to Dean's (after gassing up, that is), but we really wish we could have seen everyone. Nevertheless, what we did see was sincere and impressive.

As we walked in, we heard a voice that sounded a bit like heartfelt, acoustic rock and roll. It belonged to Adam Jermstad, the only artist performing at the afterparty who wasn't nominated this year.

Not only did we thoroughly enjoy Jermstad's performance, but we talked to him for a bit and found out that his producer is none other than Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey. Jermstad has the intention of forming a band in town, but for the past few years has performed as a solo artist.

"I came to Houston to start a band," he said. "I moved to Houston a little over two years ago; it gets a bad vibe [from music critics], but maybe it's not such a bad place."

Coming from Austin, Jermstad has been both disappointed a lot of the time but then pleasantly surprised by many "cool spots."

"I needed to take a breath; I needed a break," he said. "And then I came here, and it was really nice. Honestly, there's some really cool communities and a lot of artist cooperation, but when anything gets too saturated, it gets really hard. And I think you're going to have more success with somewhere like Houston, where you have room to breathe artistically."

Jermstad hopes to have a band formed by next year's HPMAs. "The goal is absolutely to do a full-band thing," he said. "Unfortunately, a lot of people don't necessarily listen to the acoustic guy."

He smiled and laughed, perhaps somewhat defeated.

"The feel (of a show) is what's important to me," he said. "I want it to be an emotional thing, I want it to be a genuine thing more than this-sound or that-chord. And any band that I would be in would have to be something a little more... personal."

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Since he's got the talent, the looks and his heart is in the right place, Aftermath wouldn't be too surprised to see Jermstad playing - or at the very least nominated for something - next year's HPMAs.

Before 2 Dollar Sound took the stage, we ran into the band's bassist, the Wedge, washing his face in the restroom. He admitted to being drunker than he planned to be right before their performance. But he performed like a champ and impressed long-time fans and new listeners alike.

"I've never really won anything," said vocalist Moji. "In fact, I've never won anything, so this is amazing."

For most of the night, at least 40 percent of the crowd was outside conversing and smoking, but at 12:45 a.m., when Ellypseas took the stage, everyone in the crowd came inside and stayed inside for the duration of their performance.

Satin Hooks were on the set list, but no one saw them all night, so when Ellypseas finished up at about 1:15 a.m., the show ended, and fans began to disperse much slower than when they left the HPMA ceremony. But then again, that may be because Dean's was still serving liquor for another 45 minutes, while Warehouse Live cut everyone off when the party ended.

Overall, the afterparty wasn't so much a party as it was a chance for the ceremony's attendees and musicians to relax without having to quit drinking. And no one got plastered and acted belligerent, which, as a regular concertgoer, was a nice change of pace. So we're all for it.

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