"This is what I've been waiting for — the chance to get out of Texas and perform for a new audience."
Mike Pendon, aka DJ Jester — aka the Filipino Fist — sounds like an excited schoolboy when discussing his upcoming tour with Canadian turntablist Kid Koala. For several years now, the San Antonio music scene has basked in the glow of Pendon's rising star, but the time has come to unleash this talent on the rest of the world. In March, Pendon will embark on a cross-continental tour with Kid Koala and DJ P-Love, inevitably winning thousands of new fans with an incomparable vision that sees the beauty in playing Willie Nelson, Public Enemy, and Richard Simmons in the same set.
In what may be SA's last chance to see its underground dance scene's favorite son before he "makes it big," Pendon will play several gigs around town in the upcoming weeks. Along with Houston hip-hop sensation Notes, and local artists MiC Dagger and DJ Scuba Gooding Sr., Pendon will invade The Lounge on February 21 for the first of three gigs that will serve as both warmup sessions and bon-voyage parties for the touring DJ. He will also appear at the REM Gallery on Thursday, February 27, and back at The Lounge on Saturday, March 1.
Since the upcoming tour is in support of Kid Koala's new book about a woman who falls in love with a robot, Pendon has been asked to play a set of love songs, a challenge he eagerly embraces.
"I'm playing the cheesiest '80s love songs," he brags, "to the point that it is completely over the edge."
Armed with an entire new set, Pendon is prepared to share with the rest of the country what we San Antonians have known for a while — namely, that one of the country's best DJs is a Texan. Check him out while he is still rightfully ours.
STRAIGHT OUTTA THE APARTMENT
Another busy local artist with national connections and aspirations is Jerry Fuentes Jr., leader and driving force of the pop-rock quartet known as the JFJ Band.
A precocious songwriting machine who released his first CD at 16, Fuentes hooked up with the New York entertainment law firm Seleverne, Mandlebaum, and Mintz in 2001, and put together a revamped version of the JFJ Band. The current lineup — which includes Matt Medellin on drums, Robert Garcia on guitar, and Chris Brown on bass — has just released the JFJ Band's third album, The Apartment, and hits the road this week to promote the record, after a February 19 gig at Sam's Burger Joint.
Fuentes, 23, has always been crafty and career-minded beyond his years. When the JFJ Band finished third among more than 2,000 groups in a November 2000 band competition, Fuentes took a long-term approach, selling his prizes on eBay and using the money to build his own recording studio.
The first major fruit of that investment was the track "Sold Me Out," the highlight of a demo collection which HITS magazine praised in 2001 for being rife with "homerun, smash pop songs."
The Apartment ups the ante even further, and on February 12, the group celebrated the disc's release with a Mix-96.1-sponsored show at Madison Avenue. With record-label showcases on tap, this could be the long-awaited year that Fuentes and his bandmates go nationwide.