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 Saturday, September 22 and giving out feedback.

 

Arcade Hustlers:

Arcade Hustlers definitely had a psychedlic jazz style to their sound with a bit of ska thrown in (their lead singer termed it “attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder”, fair enough). Throughout the set there was fantastic vocal work, including some awesome areas where there were some raps that were added in. The band was very tight and creative musically. Case in point, the lead singer shook his tambourine into the trumpet player’s trumpet which was in turn impacted by the effects pedals on the trumpet, it created the most unique sound I’ve heard in quite a while. The set also included a really good ukulele solo. Finally, the band was able to achieve a wall of sound on their last song that was incredible.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Saul Padron:

Solid musically. There was a lot going on for two musicians (guitar and percussion) but that speaks to the talent level. Lots of effects on lead singers vocals, he was looping and harmonizing with himself which was pretty cool to see. It was also cool to see Saul going around throughout the festival being invested in other musician's sets and giving advice. It was cool to see him share his talent. 

 

Rating: 4/5

 

SMiiLE:

Fantastic indie group with harmonies for days! The group features a backing vocal section that just brings the vocals to another level. The homemade harmonies are something you don’t see these days, particularly from a back vocal section. Everyone in this group had serious musical chops.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Nautical Nation:

Had a cohesive sound that was definitely in the alt-rock genre. The drummer and bassist were essential in driving the rhythm which was great, as this freed up the guitarist a bit. The guitarist showed off some high-level guitar work.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

SWELLS: 

A solid indie sound with fantastic vocals. Lots of music output for the duo, with a great set here. At times there sound had reggae influences mixed in which was pretty cool to hear. 

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Finding September:

Reminded us of Taking Back Sunday with a female vocalist at first, very much in the alt-punk genre. However, they dipped into the screamo area a bit as well. They did a cover of Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer” where there were issues as the guitar was off and the vocals weren’t in key. We also thought we heard the backing vocalist misspeak on the vocals at one point. There were some good screaming sections later in the set and the audience really engaged with the group. The drummer was talented in this group, but his drums overpowered a lot of what else was happening.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Sweet Daddy:

A rocking band that brought some fire with them in their sound to the stage. This group had the audience going with its rock sound. Solid set.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Wild Moccasins:

Wild Moccasins had a lot of energy and their songs were extremely well played. They had good interaction with the audience and sounded great live. The bands chemistry was evident. This is a band that is on the rise. We can see them headed places in a hurry, especially with the set they pulled off at ¡Otra Fest!.    

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Mobley:

Mobley is an incredible musician. His set was one of the most unbelievable sets we have seen in all the shows we have been to. He took audience members and hooked them up with electrodes and played them as human drum machines, he played every instrument under the sun, he engaged the audience and had them eating out of the palm of his hand. All while packing some vocals that are downright fantastic. It's hard to believe that there is that much musical talent bestowed into one person. Not to mention he is self taught! If you have not seen Mobley live or listened to him, do it now (After you finish the article of course).

 

Rating: 5/5 

 

Vallejo: 

A fun alt rock band that's set has roots in Mexican style music. They played a solid set and had the crowd with them the whole time. They brought great energy to the stage and ran a tight ship musically, you can tell they've been playing together a while.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

The Mammoths:

The band fam. The Mammoths never disappoint bringing their signature roots/psychedelic rock sound to the stage and bringing the audience with them. This group not only has it with their sound, but has the musical knowledge to back it up, and they bring a lot of that into their sound, especially their harmonies and versatile instrumentation.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

 

(Photo Credit: The Bright Light Social Hour)

Bright Light Social Hour:

Maybe it is because we really enjoy this bands music, but we really enjoyed seeing The Bright Light Social Hour. They have a vibe that makes the audience feel at ease, while at the same time giving the performance lots of energy. They sound great live and it is definitely worth seeing the live if you have the chance.   

 

Rating: 5/5

 

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