To the outsider, San Antonio might not come across as a rich, cultural playground brimming with artistic talents of many flavors. We’re known to most as home of the Spurs or that place with the Alamo, or that city close to Austin (also, why don’t you move to Austin?).
I’m sure you’ve had this conversation with people who aren't from here as they sneeringly inquire just what the hell to do around in town. One may feel eager to share the favorite dive bars, the amazing local band they saw at K23, or even the weird installation they saw somewhere in Southtown. Or maybe you choose to keep your local secrets to yourself and direct them to a chain restaurant on the Riverwalk. San Antonio doesn’t offer a cultural experience to those who aren't willing to at least try looking. It doesn’t thrust itself upon foreigners begging to be validated. San Antonio is the cool punk rock lady, confident in who she is, and unaffected by whether or not society deems her cool.
That vibe is also echoed within the music community here. And really, that don't-give-a-fuck-just-gonna-rock-out vibe has been the most appealing feature of watching the scene grow in recent years. If you want to get involved and do some cool shit here, there’s room to do it and people to support you.
Which is exactly what Ryan Brummett did with Mondo Nation. Wanting to bring bands that wouldn’t necessarily come through San Antonio while giving them a non-traditional space to do their thing (like rooftops and art galleries) became the main focus of Mondo Nation after the blog started to gain some steady traffic. Noticed for his work with Mondo Nation, Brummett was picked up by from the folks behind Paper Tiger to be the talent buyer and general manager, which understandably forced him to focus less on the collective he founded.
Approaching the second anniversary of the North St. Mary’s venue, Paper Tiger has become a staple for indie rock and alternative hip-hop shows passing through the southwest. But Brummett says he's eager to get back to his roots as a curator of unconventional shows. “I love my job, but I need to do these shows too.” So on January 25 at 1906 Art Gallery, Justo Cisneros, a regular artist and collaborator with Mondo Nation, will construct an instillation inside which the band Marching Church, a side project from iceage vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, will perform. Ten bucks gets you inside and, with Lone Star as a sponsor, complimentary drinks will be available.
Ryan says that after the Marching Church performance, he's already got another show in the works set for sometime in April. He hopes to throw them quarterly, so it's safe to say that Mondo Nation is back to bring us something we’re use to seeing from them: weird musical experiences in unorthodox spaces.