May 17, 2019

Circling Drones at the Sahara Lounge – Review by Walter Daniel

2015 Voyager Festival alums Circling Drones played a set at the relaxed and funky Sahara Lounge in East Austin on June 3.  The venue is away from the downtown traffic and has plenty of free parking.

At the 2015 outdoor festival Circling Drones performed as a quartet (drums, bass, guitar, sax) that had a laid back, Canterbury vibe much like Soft Machine.  For the Sahara show the group included a keyboardist who injected a different energy into the lineup–a good reference might be The Dixie Dregs.  There were a couple of nice organ solos in the vein of John Novello (Niacin) as well as an extended electric piano solo that was reminiscent of the kind of playing that Adam Holzman has displayed on Steven Wilson’s recent solo tours.

Melodies on some of the songs were doubled by guitar and sax for a sound that echoed the Jeff Beck (guitar)/Jan Hammer (Minimoog) collaborations from the late 1970s.  The set included some burning guitar solos as well as tasteful tenor sax from Matt Moore.

Circling Drones will play an album release show at the Mohawk on Friday, June 17, at 7 PM. Note that this show is one of the many pre-event parties for the Solstice Festival at Pan Am Park on June 18.

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Walter Daniel
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Walter Daniel