May 17, 2019

Heavy Riffs and Power Grunge at Hotel Vegas

Article and photos by Lauren Lyman

Last night, three bands gathered at Hotel Vegas on an otherwise simple Monday night, ready to heat things up for the rock-starved folks on the Austin east side. Unbothered by the mist and scattered rain, the attendees included those from the early comedy show, members of local prog band Wonderbitch, and other music enthusiasts looking forward to the night ahead.

Greenbeard opened the night, with a riff-driven set and a tight, solid groove in the bass and drums. I was immediately taken by such a lock into the rhythm, soulful vocals, and just complete command of the songs. Chance Parker, on guitar and vocals, has a concentrated as well as incandescent presence on stage. Off stage, he mentioned he has an affection for stoner metal, which makes sense, as that seems to be an influence to the songs as well. According to their bandcamp website, they call themselves, “desert rock”; perhaps elaborating on the dazed aesthetic, burning both from the sun and mother Earth. Greenbeard was a fantastic opener for the night.

Transit Method
Transit Method

The next band switched gears in terms of genre, but Transit Method can also switch to many things during the course of a song. This alternative progressive rock band performed at Voyager Fest last June, and for me, it was great to hear their set up close this time around, as there is a lot to catch. Their overall strength serves their band name-being able to seamlessly transition from one meter/section to another. They can change it up in the rhythm section (Danny Cruz Borja, Jr. on bass, Mike LoCoco on drums), while the vocals (Matt LoCoco, also on guitar) like to sit up top and move the song forward. This was a delightfully, intense performance.

Mountain Rag
Mountain Rag

Mountain Rag closed the night, and brought us back to riff-driven rock, except with a rootsy and hard blues feel. Ryan Nelson, on vocals and bass, can really resonate on both of his instruments; for sure, that voice is clear above the mix. There is something to be said about keeping the heavy and fully distorted sound in rock today. In fact, do we remember rock ‘n’ roll? The “rock” and “roll” are still not mutually exclusive, and this band can remind us of that.

Overall, the three bands powered through the night, providing liberation, deliberation, and the unconventional.

For more information on Greenbeard:

For more information on Transit Method:

For more information on Mountain Rag: