By Sarah Stephens
MR Fest Press Team
Stonewall Warehouse is easily one of the most exciting bars along The Square.
It shifts to life with spinning twin glittering disco balls housed atop the stage, boasts framed enlarged images of Ellen Degeneres and beloved Rocket Man Elton John and rotates an electric mix of music from its oversized speakers. This mix of music fills the entire nightclub and has you twirling along to Earth Wind and Fire one minute then singing along to Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous Girl” the next.
Matching Stonewall’s varied catalogue of music was MR Fest’s lineup at the venue. There was a total of four bands and each brought about a pleasantly unique sound.
The Real Hands took the stage first and immediately entranced the audience with their relaxed indie pop. The four-piece is from San Marcos and according to their bassist and vocalist, John McAlmon, indulge in some of the hill country’s treasures by venturing down to the river for soaking their feet and jamming.
The Real Hands’ songs were nothing short of beautiful and reminded me of something one would dance barefoot to in their kitchen after a long day. Each of their songs seemed to possess some sort of deeper meaning that was accompanied by beachy melodies and pounding drums.
Fast-forward 45 minutes and a whole new vibe took over Stonewall thanks to Dayluta Means Kindness. The El Paso natives commanded and withheld the attention of their audience through their music’s smooth and atmospheric vibes. A lot of heads were bobbing throughout the set and focused on the band’s masterful technique of peacefully maneuvering through a song then jolting to life with loud progressions, silencing whatever daydream you may have been in.
MR Fest’s third band at Stonewall was Dylan Fox and the Wave. Their rock garage music was fast, easy to move around with and was perfectly suitable for lovers of Black Lips or Ty Segall. This was not only the trio’s first time performing at MR Fest, but also their first time being in San Marcos.
“We drove 19 hours from Joshua Tree,” said Dylan Fox, lead vocalist of Dylan Fox and the Wave. “When KTSW invited us to play for them, we were excited to come. We’re having a blast at MR Fest. Everyone has been really nice. It’s always a plus to participate in something that benefits the community.”
Dylan Fox and the Wave also brought along a bundle of custom graffitied LP’s that were available free of charge to the audience.
“We moved to Joshua Tree from Oakland and recorded the whole thing, put it out, did a hundred of the custom graffiti covers. It took me forever.” Fox said. “I decided to do an LP because I like 45s and I think you can get more engrossed on them.”
By the time 7:45 rolled around, Stonewall was treated with a theatrical performance by Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5. Their setlist featured lots of heavy drumming with deep vocals and the occasional fusion of maracas. Lead vocalist Greg Lewis frequently engaged with the growing audience and offered a unique musical experience that isn’t easily found in San Marcos or Austin music scenes.