In the Fifth Street reiteration of Clifford Antone’s legacy venue, embellished with a bright glowing sign of his name, one can find the glowing blue hearts of everyone from the American youth to daringly brave musicians who rule the stage in rock ‘n’ roll terror.
Two acts who have always delighted me, That Girl Dre and Fair City Fire, turned a few hearts inside out with an explosive show Friday night at the Too Damn Hot Affair at Antone’s. As I stepped into the room, on my right was a string of merch booths that lined the entrance of the show room, accompanied by a booth for my favorite Austin 501(c), SIMS Foundation. Wonderful people, doing wonderful things, listening to wonderful bands- what a night to remember!
That Girl Dre adds edge
First, Dre climbed on with a certain charisma that I’ve only seen a couple of artists pull off- the kind of humble charm that exudes confidence without overbearing arrogance.
“Performing at Antone’s was a surreal moment. I was overwhelmed by the ATX love in that room. Antone’s has a rich cultural history and attracts music fans that bands like us treasure — people who are there not just for selfies but for the whole authentic experience. Props to Gary Clark Jr. for helping to keep Antone’s alive so the next generation of bands can get a taste of the dream. Getting to debut my new single there, amongst fans who feel like family, was an experience I’ll always treasure,” Dre said of her Antone’s debut.
While I knew her performance was going to be something special, I was in for a surprise. Dre brought her A-game to Antone’s where only big league artists come to play. She delivered a strong performance if not her absolute best yet. Her performance was an emotional carnival of sharp edge rock tones juxtaposed on top of her usual style of uplifting belting vocal style. She imposed delirious excitement on her crowd with every sharp cut of her keys. Her guitarist moved quick too; his fingers nimbly and skillfully surfed along the frets of his guitar. The band’s drummer was an unstoppable force that started off like a mellow wind that caught faster speed as the night began to light up under his reign. An absolute jungle man, he terrorized his drum set and That Girl Dre finished their set off strong with a beat.
Fair City Fire wins the crowd
Next up, Fair City Fire- the boys who never disappoint. What I love about them is that these guys know how to win. They know how to shred. They know how to scream. They know how to murder a crowd of people with excitement and rage and energy.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alive in my life than I did on that stage at Antone’s. The energy of the incredible and supportive crowd that came out made it easy to give every ounce of everything we had into that performance,” lead singer Brian Wolff said.
Without a doubt, with the beat of every drum, the boys played their vocal chords out and nearly melted the damn stage.The Wolff man howled loudly into his microphone upon the stage which sat his handsomely talented band and shred, shred, shred. With an ounce of humor sprinkled into every song transition, they fired off banger after Fair City Fire banger. Drummer Joe Valadez kicked his drums so hard that it made me die in the silence between every beat. Bassist Brett Winning lived up to his last name with every fat strike of his guitar. Guitarist Clint Manning provided the electricity of the set, stunning the ground in which he stepped with lightning shooting out from the frets of his machine. Together, the band gave life to Friday night.
Both bands gave not only a comprehensive overview of their talent in each of their 45-minute sets, but they also shared a celebratory night. The event was indeed a pivotal point in each act’s local careers and featured an especially deserving headliner spot for Fair City Fire.
For Dre- the fine lady was celebrating the drop of her most recent single release, “Follow.” With almost the same energy and jungle-like drumming baked in, the single is well done and well worth a couple of listens.
As for the fire-bellied boys of Fair City Fire, they have also recently released a well baked single called “No Promises.” Hit it up on Soundcloud!
Photo credit: ChattyCon Photography & Michael Cirlos III