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Diamonds in the Rough - Local/Regional Artists on the Rise

Diamonds in the Rough is a new feature where we will cover local or regional artists we stumble across that are unsigned, that we believe are on the rise.This could be through a concert or just through listening to music online. You'll want to be sure to check out these artists as they are sure to be scooped up quick and may soon be headlining your favorite festival.

On Saturday, August 18, 2018 at the House of Rock we set up an interview with an Austin based band named Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits. It just so happened they were going to be playing in Corpus Christi the weekend after we reached out, so we arranged to meet at their show at HOR. This interview will be featured on an upcoming Artist Spotlight, for today we will be covering the concert and our thoughts of the band's performance and prospects for the future.  Additionally, there was another band that performed at the event called Alex and the Space Cadets that we are going to feature in this space, as they played an extremely tight set as well, they are local to Corpus Christi, so let's start with them. 

Alex and the Space Cadets (Corpus Christi, TX): 

When Alex and the Space Cadets took the stage  in matching jumpsuits, we had to admit we were skeptical (though we dug them, we're just not too big into uniforms). The three-piece band took the stage, complete with guitar/lead vocals, synth (and the kitchen sink we would find out later), and drums covered. When they started playing we immediately thought they comped to Built to Spill, which honestly made us almost fall out of our chair.  

The vocalist was tight and had quite the range, he could perform lows, highs, and screams when needed. The vocalist and the drummer had great chemistry and harmonized together effortlessly. Speaking of the drummer, he was a master player. The synth player was able to play a trumpet and a guitar during their set. At one point he was playing trumpet and synth simultaneously. Though I was terrified because the synth player had a ton of equipment set up on an ironing board. 

One thing that Alex and the Space Cadets were able to make a wall of sound, which is exactly what bands like Built to Spill do when they play live. This is not a common occurrence even among national acts, so we had to give them props. We were shocked when we spoke with them later to learn it was only their third time playing together. Needless to say, the sky (or space?) is the limit for Alex and the Space Cadets.

Rating 4/5  

FMI on Alex and the Space Cadets visit their Facebook Page @AlexandtheSpaceCadets.


Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits (Austin, TX):

After Alex and the Space Cadets finished their set, Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits took the stage. The band consists of Christian Sparks - Lead Vocals/Guitar, Hunter Lenington - Drums/Percussion, Sam Lathrop - Lead Guitar, and Will Clegg - Bass Guitar. When we listened to their EP (in preparation for interviewing them for our Artist Spotlight piece), we had difficulty coming up with a comp for their music for listeners, it was obvious that it was folk, but we were grasping at straws. After having watched them perform live, the comp was obvious, Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits reminded us of Shakey Graves (it didn't even take until they played a Shakey cover for us to figure this out).

Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits have an EP that came out in March of 2018, which features 5 tracks. So when they played live they did play the entirety of this, as well as a couple of covers, including the aforementioned Shakey Graves (they played "Dearly Departed"), the Lumineers, Houndmouth (“Sedona”), and a Neil Young ("Heart of Gold") cover. By the end of the set, they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hand. We have to say that we were blown away at their performance and that there have been national acts that we have seen in the past year (we won't name any names) that do not put on the show that Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits do. We're gonna need you to go to Spotify immediately and give them a listen, you can thank us later. 

Rating 5/5

FMI on Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits, please visit their Bandcamp page here.

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