By Ryan Lacerda
MR Fest Press Team
At already-too-hot-1-o’clock, The Hecklers kicked off the lineup scheduled for one of our MR Fest venues, The Hitch, and their feel-good folky rock ‘n’ roll tunes turned up the energy and set the right atmosphere for chilling out and relaxing. It was just right for the people eating delicious food-trailers such as Greek food from St. Pita or Colombian food from El Sabor De Mi Terra.
Composed of drummer Cody Boyer, vocalist/guitar player David Loftin, and bassist/vocalist Eric Nuncio, The Hecklers played most of the songs from their latest album, released in August 2015, Loverboys & Wanderers. David and Eric are from Nashville so they drove for a long while just to play for us. David even said he had to be back home tonight to be ready for work tomorrow. The vocalists’ harmonies were fun and relatable and Cody Boyer has impeccable rhythm.
Following The Hecklers came King Finn, an indie rock band, and they boosted the mood of the the crowd up fast. Chris Gallego is an experienced and great singer; he commands an arsenal of textures while staying right on pitch.
Guitarists Alan Huynh and Jakub Ausobsky are very picky about their sound as evidenced by their huge pedal boards. Fans of Gibson, Alan plays a Gibson Les Paul (the expensive one) and Ausobsky plays a Gibson SG. They played intricate guitar harmonies and share solos throughout their songs.
Michael Lucio is one of those drummers that you can tell is having a blast and would rather not be doing anything else. He was smiling and headbanging to the songs and I could tell his immersion in the music helped him play the rhythms with more flair. Bassist Jeremy Ortiz was also proud to be there, hammering along bass lines while swinging around.
King Finn played songs from their 2015 release As Part of Me. “Be, More” is a notable mention. I loved Jakub Ausbosky’s solos; he employed highly skilled techniques like sweep-picked and creatively swept a ton of unique arpeggios. Jakub said he is influenced by many exceptional guitarists like Marty Friedman from Megadeth and Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. Alan’s solos were also great: he was very precise and changed his tone for every song.
Next up, self described garage folk band Madisons had a ton of fans trickle in to support them. There was dancing, cheering, and kids doing cartwheels to this lively band.
Dominic Solis is the lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player, and his lyrics are funny and unconventional. Heidi Garcia is an amazing violinist that gives the “garage” sound an elegant finesse. Oscar Gomez on trumpet also helped give this band a unique sound. They combine a ton of different instruments that aren’t necessarily ever played together. Other band members are Thomas Damron on upright bass, Nick Kukowski singing and playing the Banjo, Cass Brostad playing the accordion, Omar Reyna on electric guitar and Mike Rothschild on drums.
The Refrains should refrain from being so good. Unfortunately, drummer Nathan Smith had to drop out because of a family emergency and that influenced keyboardist Kyle Mylius and bassist James Rector to abstain from playing. Instead, duo Lindsey James and Arah Lee played a stripped down version of their folk songs from their recent album release Two Rows of Pine Trees. However, it was an awesome show anyways because both singers are freaking superb and I literally want to steal their voices.
Alternative indie rock band Clever Heads Prevail is a local San Marcos group and they finished our line up at The Hitch today. Jose Jimenez is an excellent singer and rhythm guitar player and he really powerhouses through the songs with an array of different tonalities encompassing the many shades of raspy, smooth and soulful. Micah Krejah played some unique riffs and solos on lead guitar while Eric Puente on drums and Landon Cabrera on bass kept a tight rhythm throughout. Landon was dancing and swanging to his bass lines the whole set through.
All in all, the crowds thoroughly enjoyed the music at The Hitch and we all had a lot of fun. Don’t miss out on MR Fest next year!