We were given all access to the 2018 ¡Otra Fest! (special thanks to Casey Lain and the people at the House of Rock for accommodating us) and what a fantastic festival! The festival was jammed pack with three days worth of acts from Texas and it was just a blast. We are going to start our review of ¡Otra Fest! by checking out the lineup that played on Friday, September 21 and giving out feedback.
Wings Over Society:
Wings over society are an alt/punk band from Corpus Christi, (though you should know this already, we have interviewed them before.) The kicked off the festival on early Friday evening. The played a tight set featuring a mix of originals and covers. One of the covers they played was a great rendition of "Boys of Summer" by fellow Texan Don Henley (of Eagles fame). The vocals in this set were tight, the lead singer had great stage presence and engaged the crowd. The bassist was a bit of an unsung hero in the group as he was doing a great job with the rhythm. Crowd was into originals and covers equally.
The Reely Rotnz:
It was interesting to watch this set, as The Reely Rotnz stated that they were the first band to play in The House of Rock when it opened. That said, the group had a classic garage punk rock sound. The band has played together for around 20 years they said, it shows they were tight as hell musically. Some comps for them would be Social Distortion sans Mike Ness' signature vocals.
Had a fun and engaging indie rock sound. The vocals and lead guitar were extremely strong from EverGlaze. The lead singer/guitarist and bassist switched instruments for a song, that was kinda fun. This group has such a song indie sound, if they aren't affiliated with a label yet, they should be soon. Bass and drums were also strong in this group, helped carry the rhythm throughout. I enjoyed the lead singer's onstage persona, it was silly, fun, and energetic.
A Simple Jester:
I want to start off by saying that A Simple Jester had some ups and downs in their set. The ups, included some strong vocals on "Northern Lights" and their song "Bombs Away" was tight musically as well. I enjoyed the Mark Hamill Joker Intro the band did. Daniel does a good job with engaging the audience with witty banter between songs, sometimes at the expense of his other band mates.
To the downs, there were couple of songs where there were some issues with staying in key with the vocals, namely "Under the Rug" and "Always Something". That said, ASJ committed one of the cardinal sins of performing live, and that is not filling their time. They ended their set with 30 minutes remaining and seemed to have no idea that was their remaining time. They won the battle Battle of the Bands to be in that position and it was extremely disappointing to see them not have enough music to fill their set. Ending your set early like this puts strain on the promoter as well as the other bands involved. Whether it's adding more originals or simply composing a couple of covers, you gotta fill your time. ASJ has a lot of talent, they just need to continue to add more to their set and refine their current works a bit, they'll be fine.
This band absolutely blew me away. They had such a bright and vibrant sound with their horn section and multiple sections of percussion. The also really brought it with their stage presence and engage the audience a lot. They had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand as they were dancing during most, if not all of Superfonicos' set.
Culture Wars tore the house down when they took the stage. They began with an intro that featured famous TV spots such as the OJ Simpson verdict reading and Bill Clinton discussing Monica Lewinsky. After this, CW came out with a bang and began playing tracks off their EP that sound just as good live as they do in studio. By the time the second song started, the crowd was totally into what CW had to offer. Their lead singer Alex, has the stage presence of a young Mick Jagger and really engages the audience with his dancing which accentuates the lyrics he is singing. Speaking of the vocals, Alex can hit those high notes! Their set featured fantastic guitar and drum work from Mic and David respectively. After the set ended new fans swarmed the guys for merch and got autographs and photos with the group. CW's star is rising, we said this in June/July better jump on the train now.
Played a great set of rock/alt-country music and one thing was for certain, Emily owns the stage she's on. People were so into her set and for good reason. She effectively balanced rock and country elements with her fantastic guitar and vocal work. Her backing band was also extremely strong. The crowd came unglued when Wolfe performed "The Ace of Spades" by Motörhead.
Look there's a reason why they closed the night. Fastball played some familiar hits and some newer stuff as well. All along they put on a master class of what homemade harmonies are all about. The vocals and the music were so tight here it was incredible. Fastball were so gracious on stage and throughout the evening to the crowd that was assembled, that was extremely cool to see. If you want to see a band full of some good people, playing fun music, see Fastball.
Day 2 ratings/reviews will be coming soon!