San Antonio Music Showcase is returning for its seventh year, taking over the St. Mary’s Strip on Saturday, September 28. The Current
-sponsored event will feature 35 San Antonio-based acts spanning genres from conjunto and folk to metal and goth.
We intentionally slimmed the lineup this year to provide attendees with a focused, better-curated experience. Take it as a charcuterie board of local talent. That decision also allowed us to keep most of the action on the Strip for easy, walkable access.
Since the lineup is scattered through 10 venues with each hosting a specific genre of music, here’s a venue-by-venue preview letting you know what to expect from each. Wristbands are only $10 and guarantee admission to every venue. For tickets, full lineup and more information, visit sanantoniomusicshowcase.com
Neither black clothing nor eyeliner is required for entry to this showcase, but be warned, if you’re not donning darker attire, you may stand out a bit. All the acts on this bill write music from a macabre perspective. Goth favorites Shadow Fashion use synth arpeggiations and poppy vocal melodies to make their sad songs super danceable. SʞIN, formerly known as No.925, produces industrial music that entrances listeners to focus on the music’s abrasive textures. Regional favorite Filthy will close out the night with a blend of post-punk and industrial that it’s been performing since 2016 to anyone willing to listen. From performing in dilapidated houses on the West Side to venues with pristine PA systems, Filthy never shies from putting on a memorable show. Amp Room, 2407 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 320-2122, amproom.com.
Very Old Morris is the solo folk/alt-country project of Jerid Morris, the San Antonio music veteran who helmed indie acts Muldoon in the early 2000s and Stegosaur starting in 2008. More recently, he’s turned his attention and songwriting prowess to the lush and lyrically rich alt-country of El Campo. In July, Morris released his first EP as Very Old Morris, a gritty and somber four-song affair that shows off his considerable skills as a songwriter. Chris Maddin, meanwhile, is another local music old hand whose credentials include multiple solo projects plus the once-ubiquitous rock outfit Blowing Trees. Rounding out the bill is Demitasse, the chamber-folk project of Buttercup’s Erik Sanden and Joe Reyes. Little Death, 2327 N. St. Mary’s St.
While the term “indie rock” is annoyingly broad at times, it works for this showcase since each of the bands falls underneath the broad umbrella yet sound nothing like each other. Noise Quota for instance, dishes out an eclectic blend of ’90s-inspired alt-rock and lo-fi bedroom pop for a buzzworthy mix. Baldemar takes an echoey, dreamy approach to pop songcraft. The performer also possesses an endearing charm that’s made him a local favorite. Bay Area transplant Emily Whitehurst rounds out the bill with her solo project Survival Guide. Formerly the vocalist for well-known pop punk outfit Tsunami Bomb, Whitehurst still delivers moments of punk tension with her new project but smooths it out with fuzzy synth tones and dance beats. Hi-Tones, 621 E. Dewey Place, (210) 785-8777, hitonessa.com.
The Lonesome Rose
Any show that includes accordion god and conjunto legend Santiago Jimenez Jr. is a can’t-miss occasion. The Grammy winner and 2016 National Arts Medal recipient has, at 75 years old, pretty much set the bar for what conjunto music should sound like. True to the Lonesome Rose’s Tex-Mex mission, Jimenez will be joined on this bill by country outfit Michael J. and the Foxes — the sad sack bravado-powered side project of Deer Vibes ringleader Michael Carrillo — and rockabilly crew the Sean Castillo Trio. The Lonesome Rose, 2114 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 455-0233, thelonesomerose.com.
Limelight’s bill will deliver a diverse sampling of what San Antonio hip-hop has to offer. MadOne has been rocking mics since the late ’80s, and it shows — his flow is matched by few if any in the city. The rapper has an East Coast-style cadence and masterfully uses inside-rhyme sequences for extra punch. Local emcee Apaso’s vibe may be laid back, but don’t let that fool you. He spins dexterous verses around boom-bap beats in a way that makes the shit look easy. Rounding out the bill is REL of Chisme, who just put out a solo record earlier this year and flows with a cadence similar to indie rap pioneers Atmosphere and Sage Francis. Limelight, 2718 N. St. Mary’s St., thelimelightsa.com.
La Botanica may be the site of the most diverse Music Showcase bill. Indie rapper Chris Conde is an ever-blossoming talent whose work is made all the more valuable by repping a queer perspective in a space that traditionally seemed off limits to the LGBTQ+ community. Meanwhile, Pink Leche holds it down in the experimental dance/indie electronic realm, creating stage shows that are often as boundary-pushing as their queer bass music. Rounding out this bill, singer-songwriter Alyson Alonzo, a strong and deservedly beloved force in SA music, will present a set of arresting electro-soul/bedroom R&B songs. DJ and producer Yyynot will keep things moving on the ones and twos. Full disclosure: Chris Conde is a staff writer for the Current
. La Botanica, 2911 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 716-0702, vivalabotanica.com.
If you’re not familiar with the incredible vinyl-only mixing crew that is the Soul Spot, what are you even doing with your life, fam? Co-founded by JJ Lopez and DJ Scuba Steve in 2010, the Soul Spot originally was a bi-weekly party held every other Friday at East Side institution Tucker’s Kozy Korner. Scuba Steve has since departed, but Lopez, along with Leonard Trujillo, Matt Vasquez and Ben Luhrmann, helped build a community centered around soul, freestyle, R&B and funk and will bringing those same vibes to Rumble to make sure the party lasts all night. Rumble, 2410 N. St Mary’s St., (210) 885-3925, rumblesatx.com.
The fact that these three wildly different acts all fall under the heading of “rock” speaks to the wide spectrum of that genre as well as the great variety of genre hybrids San Antonio produces. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy plays a patient yet potent brand of art sludge-meets-protometal that grabs hold of live audiences and leave them wanting more. Mockingbird Express specializes in a bluesy brand of throwback rock ’n’ roll that has more in common with late-’60s bands than it does with the work of the other two acts on this bill. Crowns x Coffins offers up its own take on one of the mainstays — for better or worse — in SA music: alternative rock. The Mix, 2423 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 735-1313, themix-sa.com.
This is the only showcase located off the strip, but don’t let that deter you from making the short trek to catch an eclectic and ass-kicking lineup. Show openers Covina has been making a buzz in the scene with its hard-hitting and well-constructed take on metalcore. Only two words are needed to describe the next band on the lineup, Ammo for My Arsenal: fucking heavy. Athanatos, next on the bill, delivers technical-as-fuck death metal that periodically flashes into deathcore, adding depth and groove to its head-splitting aural assault. Nerdcore metal outfit Bitforce closes out the night with its instrumental metal versions of classic video game soundtracks such as Street Fighter, Sonic The Hedgehog and Zelda. Ventura, 1011 Avenue B., (210) 802-6940, venturasatx.com.
Here’s a bill for all the misfits and oddballs. And, San Antonio, we know there are a lot of you out there. For starters, consider Whatever? — a criminally underappreciated experimental pop-punk outfit led by the estimable Tony Gnosis. Homie probably has more songwriting chops and ballistic performance aplomb than half the local acts we have celebrated in these pages over the years. Head on over to thewhatevermusics.bandcamp.com and hear for yourself. Add to the noxious Whatever? mix a dose of hardscrabble, lo-fi pop punk via the Midnight Cleaners and an unhealthy helping of psychedelic garage punk courtesy of The Wizard and you’ve got yourself one hell of a face- and mind-melting show. Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com
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