Blackbird Sing at 502 Bar, 9/14/12 (video and review)

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Blackbird Sing

502 Bar

Fri, Sep 14

Blackbird Sing, one of our city's most promising outfits, took the stage just after 11pm Friday at a packed 502 Bar. The group's first performance at the venue was also significant in that it's the first time the band has shared some of the tracks from their upcoming debut record, Enemies from Years of Loving. With a record deal inked (Shiner Records) and a debut album coming in October, the guys displayed a firm poise that seemed to indicate both that they understood the magnitude of the event and that they were entirely unshaken by it. This is a band courting the particular brand of fierce adoration that we, in the Lone Star state, reserve for our musical exemplars.

The whole evening had the feel of a first date: sweaty palms, lingering grins and just the right amount of showing off. And this is a band with a lot to show off. In a tight 14-song set, the group showcased their range and cohesiveness, adeptly moving from folksy ballads and fevered Texas-country stompers to the Beatles song that gave them their singular name. The set, for me, was defined by professionalism that wasn't afraid to get dirty and an on-stage comfort bordering on a magnetic cockiness. Harmonica, blistering electric guitars, pounding drums and singer-songwriter Vito Salinas' affected drawl kept the people rapt and the mood raucous. It is hard to imagine a more fitting blend of rock bluster, country twang and folk finesse for a Friday night in Texas.

This ain't your hipster friend's band, San Antonio. And that is something worth singing about. — James Courtney (video and photo by Felicia Esparza)

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