Small Venue/Big Sound

By: Madeline Nezat, Contributor, Regional Music Journal

High Noon & the Old Souls;

“Um, we love you too?”

Although the summer night in San Marcos, Texas was sloppy with the heat, the outdoor venue at Tantra Coffeehouse filled and was soon buzzing with expectant concert-goers. When High Noon & the Old Souls takes the stage, Kelany Brent would soon establish herself as a vocal powerhouse. Exuding confidence, Brent creates a dynamic set as she skips from erupting with passion and soul to floating down to a more hypnotic, dreamy croon. Throughout the show, members of the band seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, their passion for making the music they do is obvious within each band member. Sonny Kemp on rhythm guitar moved with his instrument as if he was perfectly in synch with the sound he was making. Travis Simpson on lead guitar and Tyler Mclean on bass were both completely focused on their playing. The sound of the band was clear and cemented in the rock genre, a sure combination of impressive drumming, haunting vocals, and solid strings.

High Noon & the Old Souls Performing at Tantra Coffeehouse in San Marcos, Texas – Photos Courtesy Emily Drumm

High Noon & the Old Souls creates playful, upbeat songs like “Catch Me If You Can” while creatively using a loop station, whereas “Sacred Lotus” speaks to the nostalgic feelings of its listeners by intertwining their lyrics with Brent’s emotive voice and the deep notes of the strings. Both can be found on their astounding EP “Back House.” Hecklers would soon be dismissed as explosive and seemingly tireless drummer Gus Torres requested the sitting members of the crowd to join them at the front of the stage. The energy of the show would quickly change to something electric and chaotic ⎼ as members of the crowd created a swirling mosh pit ⎼ and the members of the band seemed to thrive and connect with the harmless disorder. Overall the band is obviously rooted locally, members of the crowd were friends that the band interacted with before, during, and after the show. Brent mentions that they are in the process of recording a new album with their original music.

Blevins;

“Are you a wizard?”

Blevins’s following performance can be best noted and characterized by its playful ambiance, and friendly relationship with the crowd. People were drawn in from off the street by their magnetic and wicked performance, leaning over the wooden fence behind the stage, or simply stopping by on their motorcycles to see what all the music was about. Shout outs were made to dogs dancing with their owners behind the venue. Band members and brothers Brandon Blevins on vocals and guitar, Kevynn Blevins on bass, and Dillon Blevins on drums, have a synchronicity and charisma that generates an energy that permeated into the crowd. Creating a truly versatile set, the band played songs that varied from covers of John Meyer’s “Gravity” and Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” to stupendously groovy and unique originals. Although the band could certainly be goofy and play a rendition of Spongebob Squarepants’ jam “Ripped Pants,” the band’s talent could not be questioned, especially when taking into consideration their ages (the youngest, Dillon, being only 19). With certain blues influence that they kept consistently modern, Blevins is bringing a contemporary blues sound to the youth.

Blevins Performing at Tantra Coffeehouse in San Marcos, Texas – Photos Courtesy Emily Drumm

Brandon Blevins’ vocals were clean and crisp, providing an almost fun, pop-feel to their music, rivaled only by his thrilling guitar skills that seem both natural and astonishing. Kevynn Blevins’ added the killer, resounding bass skills necessary to any band with a blues influence, while Dillon Blevins’ took cues and kept their sound whole and afloat on a sprawling persian rug. The crowd sang and danced along with original songs like “3:37 AM” that stay running through your head for long after the show. When not playing remarkable guitar solos, Brandon Blevins was bringing fans to the stage to sing along with them. The two fans were ecstatic at their opportunity and were praised heartily by the band members and the crowd. A small rain shower couldn’t prevent the band from playing on, and the crowd didn’t stop dancing ⎼ jumping up and down emphatically or spinning each other around ⎼ for the entire show. Luckily for the fans, the band did announce that they are currently in the process of recording an album of their original songs.

Although vastly different in sound and genre, Blevins and High Noon & the Old Souls are both completely singular bands taking on the San Marcos music scene by force. They’re distinctly local ⎼ Brandon Blevins discussed playing frisbee golf locally and High Noon & the Old Souls sold merch in order to support their music ⎼ but their talent and possibilities are much bigger. The bands complemented each other and made shout outs about each other’s immense talent, cultivating the supportive atmosphere around the San Marcos music community. 

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