On Saturday Savior Daughters and Snowbyrd played at the smoky but cover-free club The Mix. I showed up a bit late for Savior Daughters but was able to get at least one image of them onstage, though it is completely indecipherable. Yet somehow appropriate?
I had seen them play about a year ago at a house party. At that event, the sound system was poor, it was cold, and all I recall was a lot of keyboards and someone in the band wearing a gas mask. Friday's show was a better showcase for their songs. The keyboards were still present, but no gas mask...though I suppose this might have been the best moment for a gas mask in order to navigate the shroud of smoke...not that there's anything wrong with a room full of smoke. (I later left the Mix for a bar with a room full of mirrors, but more on that in a moment.)
I had no expectations for Savior Daughters but was quite impressed. They put on a great show. The musicianship was tight and the energy was high. Their 80s influences are not hidden. I heard the Cure in a few of their songs, at least in the singing style, though musically they are more energetic than the Cure. The whole approach for Savior Daughters is very straight-forward. I suppose the term electroclash is relevant, and San Antonio has had a few other bands of a similar style before, but they seem to have created a good niche for themselves.
And as for the Mix, I can see how the lack of stage and tight space make it a good venue for them, or any band really. The architectural layout of Ruta Maya and Limelight isn't perfect for hearing some music. The energy often gets lost, though they have their other advantages.
Next up - Snowbyrd. This photo is a bit murky.
It's a tough call. Here's an image with the flash. I'm not sure which is better.
Their music soars in a different way. Scott Lutz can be seen in the background on a pedal steel guitar. Hey, that's the drummer from El Santo. Obviously, I hadn't seen them play before.
Some described them as indie rock. Others - country. They are somewhere in between, but somewhere else at the same time. The pedal steel brings the obvious country connection but Scott's playing transcends just one style. To me they are country in the way the Meat Puppets' Up on the Sun was country.
Though 80s influenced bands are quite popular now (Savior Daughters being the most obvious example, having played previously that night) I think Snowbyrd could have easily been a band from the 80s. Then, a diversity of sounds was more acceptable, at least in my opinion. Bands were all over the map then, with the Meat Puppets being an a seemingly odd inclusion for SST records (the most influential label of the 80s, which now is oddly located in Taylor, Texas for some reason. SST put out records by everyone from Dinosaur Jr. to Sonic Youth to spoken word and obscure jazz.) In other words, bands were doing their own thing, which is true as well with Snowbyrd.
At first I thought they reminded me of Austin's Lil Cap'n Travis but the Gram Parsons style isn't as dominant.
I had to meet some people later so I drifted away sooner than I would have liked. With an impenetrable layer of wool products, I got back on the bike and continued towards downtown.
Wall of Mirrors
The bar at the Havana Hotel has a unique atmosphere. It was not until I looked up towards those pipes that I fully absorbed the insane number of mirrors that cover the various walls, and perhaps, create part of the bar's elusive mystique.
And then what to make of this frame of nothing in the bathroom? Is this what is known as anti-space? Somehow, it seemed so interesting when I took the photo...
Down off of McCullough behind St. Mary's, on a street that was more of a dead-end alley, I ended up at this party. A few Downtown Highlifers were jockeying with discs. I didn't stay too long, or so it seemed.
Most of the night was spent over on Magnolia street for the last of the great roof terrace parties. Ben, the host of these events, is splitting for Seattle. However, that isn't Ben.
The previous New Year's Party there wowed everyone in attendance with its spectacular view of downtown and the Westside.
The buildup. Smoking cigarettes on the ledge. Not too far in the distance, the Westside is preparing to light the fuse.
Though not as prolonged as last year, the pyrotechnics lasted for about 20 minutes. Explanations wer considered for various reasons - the most popular being economic. Was this the indicator of an impending recession? A drop in fireworks sales?
Somewhere in this murk are people and Roman candles. Wonderful.
The Helicopter on Cherry Street
As house condemnations rage the near East side, what to make of the Apache helicopter being towed down Cherry street behind the Alamo Dome at 2:34 pm on Thursday January 3rd? Unfortunately, no photos for documentation. There were Army promotional trucks in the Alamo Dome parking lot. Evidently for some sort of convention. When the circus comes to town one might see elephants walking the streets but this was just as odd...
A New Political Ad from Mike Huckabee
Don't forget to check out these never before seen photos for the current cover story.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...