thelastplaceyoulook, American Fangs, From Guts to Glory
July 31, 2015
Crowds pushed in and spilled over onto the outdoor smoking porch Friday night at Fitz, all for a taste of live local music under the weekend's much-anticipated Blue Moon. Within their own repertoire, each band is made up of solid, professional musicians, and no knowledgeable listener could have possibly been disappointed. And if head-counts still afford any sway within the music industry, a packed house is an excellent indicator that Friday's fans were far from disappointed.
Indeed, this show was a validation that Houston can still produce consummate rock groups. The bands were varied in sound, look and genre, yet together worked as a great ensemble of live acts. The three most notable bands:
From Guts to Glory
Rock and roll is not dead here. Employing a powerful presence, From Guts to Glory took the stage with a commanding musicality. Vocalist Jeremy Feller captured the audience's attention with his enormous vocal skill while the remaining band members performed in perfect balance. Songs played were tight, clean and fast. Their complementary lyrical acuity and solid songwriting was an outstanding union and one that was obviously adored by the audience. With shouts and cheers, From Guts to Glory rocked their entire set to an almost packed room.
Most recently returned from the UK's Download Festival, Houston staples American Fangs were celebrating the release of their brand-new LP, Dirty Legs. If you were lucky enough to be at Fitz, you were lucky enough to receive their free teaser EP, which has since been in my personal music rotation nonstop. (Tip: Listen to “Slavery Wedding” first – your new favorite American Fangs’ song. Thank me later.) With fast-hitting, rock-fused punk tracks, the five-piece rocked the venue's upstairs like few others can do.
Making good use of the new material, vocalist Gabe Cavazos tore into “Counting Wolves” with the volatile force that has made this band famous. Always a Houston favorite, American Fangs refused to leave the stage with anything less than head-splitting, cymbal-crashing double beats of insane fury that is the colossal energy of this band. We would expect nothing less from these hometown boys, and they were faithful to deliver.
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Clearly the headliners and best-loved act of the evening, thelastplaceyoulook had the audience at standing-room only as the members took the stage. Sadly, this was a farewell show to drummer Mikey Garcia, but thankfully not the end of a beloved Houston enterprise. Listeners who stood through the previous four bands to see TLPYL were obviously not only dedicated, but educated. Knowing all the words to every lyric, the crowd turned the set into a virtual singalong of sorts. And, to hear the melodic sound, harmonizing and artistry of the music is to understand exactly why fans adored them.
Refreshingly different, the band's version of rock and roll was nothing short of an auditory delight. Songs such as “Don’t Make It So Easy," "Rip It Out” and “Band to Save Me” engaged even the most reluctant listeners with wide-open guitar riffs, ballad-like lyrics and rousing vocal collaborations between bearded front man Justin Nava and bassist Kevin Pool. With a visually interesting stage presence and vast vocal offering, TLPYL put on a tremendously talented performance, proving Houston's local music scene can still deliver with full force. Bravo, Houston, bravo.