The Nashville three-piece with a long name and infectious hooks got the garage at Taqueria El Picante churning on Saturday night during the noisy, sweltering Taco Fest 2k13.
Bassist Alex Rowe traded vocals with guitarist Edwin Coombs while Ross Winchel pummeled the drums during a set that was all too short.
Between Rowe’s fierce, raspy vocals and Coombs confident shredding, Commonwealth made straight-up punk rock that was poppy-enough to lure in the day’s biggest crowd before sundown, and punk enough to set off a wild mosh pit that bloodied at least one forehead and spilled horchata and beer.
The kids, as they say, seemed like they wouldn’t have it any other way. They lined up at the band’s merch table four deep, shoveling out cash and praise in equal measure.
“We played here last night,” Coombs said. “We were booked with a band we’re touring with, Infected, and it was a great show. We asked if there was a spot we could play today.”
The trio was pushing its latest and third release, a seven inch split with Random Conflict. The seven inch was released by Shit Starter Records.
“This record is really kind of us starting over with a new drummer (Winchel) and us starting over with a new writing direction,” Coombs said. “We really tried to integrate dual vocals. I sing and Alex sings. I write half the lyrics and she writes half. We take one idea and then we write about it.””very lyrically based,” which shows. The Commonwealth of American Natives performed the single day-time set in which vocals were discernible. (Taco Fest is a punk and hardcore bash, and most of the vocals amounted to a roar that sounded like a twentysomething man vomiting up something like “BRAAAAAAAAAAWWWHHH!”)
Rowe said the band is “very lyrically based.”
“I sing these lyrics like I sing songs by other bands, you know, when you sing just to get through the day. That’s how I sing these songs,” Rowe said.
Coombs said the two-track record is a punk rock treatment of daily life, and the struggles it can bring. “Do You Read Sutter Cane” is a tribute to the John Carpenter horror film In the Mouth of Madness (an insurance investigator questions his sanity as he watches the fans of a horror writer seem to lose touch with reality.
“You know how sometimes, you think about all the violence around you and all of the crazy stuff all around you and you start wondering ‘am I the only sane person left?’ That’s where that song came from,” Coombs said.
“Bird in a Cage” is a shout-out to the wage slaves clocking in so they might make music – or follow their true passion, whatever it might be.
The band is on a three week tour with Infected, and heads to Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday. The band continues to Minneapolis, Minn. and, eventually, Chicago.
– Lucinda Breeding.
Where does the album title come from?
The title comes from an idea I had that music comes from nothing and thqt you can, indeed, make music from nothing. Basically, it just is, like air.
There’s something very American about this record. The Spanish, the Czech, the doo-wop, the ‘Snowflake Reel’ – they all bring a feeling of American sprawl to them. Did Brave Combo set out to do that, or is it more the result of the band’s many trips to town festivals and cross-country drives?
As well, these modern times are redefining music and the role of music in society. But it’s like non-news. We should probably talk about this when we have more time, but that’s basically it.
By Megan Radke
Beer and music have always gone hand in hand – where there’s one, there’s often the other. Spune Productions has married the two into an indie music and beer festival that is sure to be one of the most fun of 2013.
In April, the appropriately named Untapped Festival will feature more than 60 brewers and artists like Justin Townes Earle and Deer Tick, who can only be described as a beer festival goers dream act.
September of 2012 hosted the first Untapped, which was originally scheduled to be a block party held at Uptown Dallas’ The Common Table. When the lineup was announced (which featured acts like Akron Family and The Antlers), the brewers and the ticket sales kept growing, and the crew at Spune quickly realized it was time to move to a bigger venue and hosted Untapped at Trinity Groves in Dallas.
“We were very pleased to realize how strongly the event resonated with our city,” said Matthew Harber, Spune’s co-owner and CEO. “Spune has always had an inclination towards the non-traditional and what started as a weekly local music program at a house bar in Uptown, of all places, eventually spawned Untapped.”
Annette Marin, Spune’s marketing coordinator, noted that the Untapped idea also came from discussions about typical beer festivals and typical concerts, noting that beer festivals don’t often play host to big names, while shows with great lineups don’t always serve the great brews.
This year’s festival will be held at the up and coming Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth, Spune’s home base.
“Once again we opted for a unique location,” Harber said. “It says something that in 2013 both the Fort Worth Music Festival and the Toadies fest are happening at Panther Island Pavilion. But we are hosting our event in a different part of the development – in the corner of a parking lot. That is a challenge but like with the Dallas event we aim to take an unexpected piece of property and make it shine. “
Along with Justin Townes Earle and Deer Tick, April’s Untapped will also feature Sarah Jaffe and Tennis. Beer fans can look forward to local brewers like Deep Ellum, Rahr, Lakewood, Firewheel and Denton’s own, Armadillo Ale Works. Harber says that the artists were handpicked for the festival, as Spune has worked with each of them in the past. Harber also notes that hosting so many local breweries is a definite draw for patrons.
Spune will be partnering with Paste Magazine to present a series of Untapped Festivals across the country, including another installment in Dallas in September and stops in Nashville and Atlanta in the fall. Harber says Texans can expect big things from the Dallas edition of Paste Untapped.
Concert goers and beer drinkers have three options when it comes to tickets for April’s Paste Untapped. For $58, a VIP ticket will give patrons concert access and first tastes of the beer. Fans should note the value of the VIP option, as at last year’s festival, the most popular brews had a tendency to run dry rather quickly. For $30, fans can get a combination concert and a beer ticket. A single concert ticket can be purchased for $22. Tickets can be purchased at Untapped-Festival.com.
Harber says that this Untapped might be a bit more rowdy than last year’s event in Dallas – in a good way.
IF YOU GO
When: April 20, 2013
Where: Panther Island Pavilion 395 Purcey St., Fort Worth 76102
Details: VIP Ticket $58, Concert+Beer Ticket $30, Concert Ticket $22
On the Web: Untapped-Festival.com
If you weren’t able to make it to the One Year Anniversary of Oak Street Draft House, Denton’s own Amandus Studios has got you covered with their footage of the party with Denton’s beloved Boxcar Bandits.
Photographer David Minton fights the long lines and torrential weather to capture the Mainstage and local heroes.