I have a list of favorite things and in no particular order they go like this: burritos, Samoyed dogs, ’90s emo, free stuff and music in general. Like any good millennial, I think paying for things is stupid. That’s why Free Week is one of my favorite weeks of all time. Last night I sauntered over to The Sidewinder to catch Darkbird, Coattails and The Bravo. If you have never been to Sidewinder, it’s an awesome little venue with great sound indoors and an awesome outdoor stage as well. I was inside checking out these bands and even got to interview Damien Howard of Coattails. If you’re not going to free week, you’re missing out. Here’s what you missed at the Sidewinder.
Darkbird is a 5-piece power-pop band fronted by the lovely Kelly Barnes. Think the New Pornographers or Fountains of Wayne but with a darker tone. The band plays extremely tight, never missing a beat and Barnes is a lively and talented front woman. We have covered Darkbird before, and it seems just within the last few weeks they have propelled themselves even further up the Austin Music ladder. Their new EP I Remember Feeling My Fingers Slip is a dark but powerful piece of art, juxtaposing poppy riffs with looming lyrics and sometimes ominous keys. You can check out that new album here.
The next band that went on, Coattails, is by far one of the best rock bands I’ve seen live. As a musician, I’m constantly trying to compartmentalize bands I hear — trying to find the genre or description that could best be used to define what I had just witnessed. I found that with Coattails, the best way to describe this wall of sound is simply Rock ‘N’ Roll. Classic. In your face. And Loud. I caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Damien Howard to talk about what it’s like to be on the forefront of Austin’s consistently growing local music scene.
Jake Rhodes: How long have you been playing with Coattails?
Damien Howard: Well, around 2 and half years.
JR: 2 and half years. Awesome. And is this your first time playing Sidewinder?
DH: Since I was 19, I think it was called Red Eyed Fly. This is our first time coming here since it [Sidewinder] has been with Transmission
JR: Cool! Now if I’m not mistaken you guys just put out a new album?
DH: We are on February 27th, we’ll be doing a release show at the Mohawk.
JR: And are you guys all from Austin?
DH: Well, we have all been here long enough to be considered from Austin, haha.
JR: What do you think makes this area [Red River], or Austin in general so great for live music?
DH: You can come catch an original band, and this area has a great rock scene.
Last, but certainly not least, The Bravo closed off the evening with what could only be described as classic rock with Interrobang alumni Greg Clifford banging the shit out of his drum set so hard I was convinced either it was going to break or he was. The Bravo recently released a track, “The Price You Pay,“ a preview of their album to come, which is set to be released this year. A decade-long project by Danny Bravo, the latest iteration of this killer project is loud, brash and oh so sexy. The Bravo makes the kind of music that inspires conception in those that have the pleasure of witnessing it: Listener beware.
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