Last weekend I was looking for my live music fix when I got an invite to the Euphio Records Showcase. Euphio is a small, artist-run label whose stable includes some of my favorite bands. For 15 bucks, attendees got food, drinks, and live music from Animal Spirit, The Frisky Disco, Captain Mayo and the Phonos, The Breakfast Machine, and Big Bats. Mind you, it meant a drive to Deep Ellum, but how could I resist?
The event took place at Ferralog Recording Studios on Main Street in the heart of Deep Ellum. I got there at 6, and there was a good crowd of musicians hanging out on the sidewalk. One of them was inexplicably wearing the head from a bear costume. I’ve some experience with musicians, and have read about furries, and decided it would be prudent to just ignore the bear and go inside.
I’ve also some experience with recording studios, and I was expecting a party in a cramped live room of a recording studio -- but this place has a full-blown bar out front with a stage, excellent lighting, incredibly nice bartenders, and piles of sandwiches, baked goods, and even shrimp cocktail. And five bands. Note to self: When Euphio throws a party, it’s worth going.
First up, we had Animal Spirit, a kind of hippy-ish, psychedelic band that I am really digging lately. The band consists of Andrew Stroheker (guitar/vocals), Sam Wuehrmann (vocals/keys), Parker Anderson (drums/percussion/vocals), and Joe Prankster (bass/vocals).
Animal Spirit has a spiritual, peace-and-love vibe, and it’s hard to be in a bad mood listening to them. Plus, the stage was covered with balloons, which Sam promptly kicked into the audience, and in doing so, she got the party started down a more interactive path.
Following the fastest change-over I’ve ever seen, Frisky Disco was up on stage next. The band consists of Hayden Miller (vocals), Tyler Vela (guitar), Jonnie Mans (bass) and Zach Tucker (drums). Frisky Disco is pure rock and roll energy, and now that Hayden has moved out from behind the drums to properly front the band there isn’t a more rock and roll show to be had. They have a blues-based psychedelic edge to them.
In the third act spot we had Captain Mayo and the Phonos. This is a good, solid rock act, which unfortunately forgot the cardinal rule of Metroplex live music: don’t go on after Frisky Disco. There just isn’t much you can do to keep the level of energy up after those guys, so if someone goes after them they should either be taking things in a completely different direction, or literally set themselves on fire.
But aside from that, Captain Mayo gave us a solid set. The band consists of Zach Mayo, Nolan Robertson, Scott Forosisky, and Brian Forosisky.
Next up, it was Breakfast Machine. More psychedelic rock, and also monster talent, consisting of Ryan Sobczak (guitar), Meghann Moore (vocals), Brandon Reynolds (bass), Zach Mayo (drums) and Chris Mansfield (guitar). The crowd was really getting into it by now, joined by band members who had already been on stage. Everyone seemed to know the words to many of the songs, and sang along.
For the last act, we had Big Bats. This was more of an electronic affair, even though the band was Breakfast Machine plus the addition of Patrick Doughtery. They bill themselves as multi-beat psychedelia. After doing a few songs, hand percussion instruments were handed out, and as many people as could fit on stage did so for the final song.
All told, this was an amazing show; not just because of the remarkable talent of these young bands, but thanks to the professionalism with which the show was put together. Five-band shows are often tedious and annoying. Euphio prevented this with short sets, and very fast changeovers. All bands seemed to use the same amps, effects, and drums. This requires heroic levels of cooperation from the various bands, but keeping down-time to minimum allows for a sustained high energy. There was a one-big-family vibe, and consistency to the styles of all the bands that is so rarely seen.
This is how it should be done.