Another night at the Mojo Record Bar. The room is packed. The first band is getting ready. Griffin Ford and the Variables: a party of seven wild musicians. They jump and dance as soon as their set begins. It does not take long for the audience to get infected: people dancing in the tables, people dancing at the bar. I have to go to the toilet and there is people dancing there as well.
I come back and drink my wine. Music reminds me of Kings of Leon’s first albums but some dissonance here and there quickly make me forget about that band and focus on what’s happening before my ears and eyes. «We are just doing our jobs: rock and roll baby,» says Griffin at the microphone.
It is time for the next band but the audience requests for one more song and the band has no choice. Griffin’s dad is on the piano having fun. The percussion guy roams around filling the room with rhythm. Guitar strings are destroyed. Keytar notes announce the end of the world. Drums and bass march steadily towards a gran finale. Griffin’s voice is high up there. The audience can’t get enough of this band.
I have seen The Brights before. Two or three months ago. I really enjoyed them that first time I saw them. But this time I was absolutely blown. We are all shocked as soon as they start playing. You can feel the tension in the room. You cannot not look anywhere else. I drop my wine to the floor. Someone else’s beer is on the floor.
The Brights are a tight-as high energy garage band. Simple plus persistent riffs equals powerful music and The Brights are post-punk masters of this equation. These guys are growing fast and will get places soon. «That was fucking sick», says the guy next to me. It was. It is. The Brights are fucking sick.
The Doe and the Scapegoat are next. Two guitars, bass and drums. And a trumpet. Yeah. I love it. I wish I could play the trumpet. I once shared stage with this band at the Captain Cook Hotel. I remember the vocalist/guitarist had to play seat because he was on crutches. That did not stop him from kicking asses with the sounds of his guitar.
Talking about kicking: the drummer is punishing the kick drum and the snare so hard that audience has to pull back. Only the very hardcore fans remain. Us mortals cover our ears with pain. I am using earplugs and still it hurts. Some people decide to abandon the venue. I go outside for ten minutes to give my ears a break. When I come back, the bass player is standing on a guitar amp and the drummer is half naked. Did I miss something?
To wrap up the night, it’s turn for IKYK (I Know You Know) to jump on stage. This is a band with a unique personality: a vocalist/guitarist from China, a bass player from Sweden, a guitar player from Australia and a drummer from Mexico. They start playing and I hear someone next to me saying «these guys sound like The Strokes». I know the band know this.
They surprise us with their britpop version of «Bad guy» from Billie Eilish. Then they play their new song «Office gossip» and we are all very pleased. People are singing along to this band’s songs. Other bands -not on the bill tonight- came to see them. This is their last show of the year and they are making sure the audience misses them until next year.
There is a special chemistry among these musicians. You can see they are having fun while they are playing. The drummer and bass player cannot help smiling most of the time. The guitarist keeps focused on his instrument but sends the right energy across. And the front man makes sure everyone is having the best time tonight. The band feels good. The crowd feels good. I feel good. And if a band can make you feel this with their music, you know —we know, they know, everyone here knows!— they are on the right track.
Text and photos by Abel Ibáñez G.