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Black Pistol Fire at Emo’s

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By Christian Villarreal
Music Journalist

Live music has slowly been returning to venues across Texas, giving a chance for smaller artists to make a name for themselves and a chance for everyone to enjoy something that had been absent for a year and a half.

On Friday, July 23, I was able to attend an amazing concert at Emo’s in Austin, Texas. The concert was for Black Pistol Fire, with Emily Wolfe, and the Shooks as the two opening acts.

The doors opened at 7:30 p.m. and I was ready in line. After a year with no form of live music, I was ecstatic to see this performance. Emo’s didn’t seem like much from the parking lot, but after walking inside there was a sense of identity the venue had.

The room was made to hold around 200 people with a sound booth at the center. The walls were covered in original art, which gave me something to look at while the bands set up.

People slowly started to fill in for the opening act, the Shooks. The Shooks are a garage-indie rock band that are local to Austin, Texas. The five-piece band gave a show that shook the audience, pun intended. The best way I can describe the band is as if The Stokes and the Arctic Monkeys had a baby.

All five members of the Shooks at Emo’s
The Shooks at Emo’s

The performance was filled with drums that punched through the mix and an amazing vocal range from the lead singer that drove each song forward. The Shooks are an amazing band, and you should definitely expect to hear more about them in the future.

After an amazing 30-minute performance from the Shooks, Emily Wolfe came on the stage. Wolfe’s performance was, in a single word, impactful. From the moment she gets on stage to the last note that rings from her guitar, the entire audience is captivated. Her vocals had a natural presence in the room that made her music work on a different level. The drums were loud and exhilarating, I could feel the floor move for the entire set.

Emily Wolfe playing her song “Atta Blues”
Emily Wolfe at Emo’s

The best part about the performance was Wolfe’s guitar skills. She is an amazing player, and it’s evident she pours herself into her performances. Wolfe was born to be on a stage, and the crowd knew it. There were moments where Wolfe would close her eyes and her playing would cause jaws to hit the floor. It was an amazing experience created by an outstanding band.

I was skeptical before the concert. I had listened to Emily Wolfe’s newest album and was surprised with how different it was from her past work. The album was amazing, but it just felt different from what came before. After seeing Wolfe play the album live, I had realized that this was a good kind of different, one that will take Wolfe and her band to another level.

As amazing as Emily Wolfe was, the performance did have to end. While I was disappointed to see Wolfe leave the stage, I couldn’t help but look forward to the main act, Black Pistol Fire. I started listening to Black Pistol Fire over the pandemic last year, so this was my first chance to see them live. I had only seen videos and heard from other people how lively their performances were, the band did not disappoint.

Before they came onto the stage, the venue had reached its capacity and my roommate and I were pressed against the guard in front of the stage. The Austin Based rock duo stepped onto the stage and the crowd went wild before the band could even speak. Right out of the gate the band started with a knockout punch of a song. Black Pistol Fire started their performance at a ten and ended on a 12.

Black Pistol Fire starting their performance.
Black Pistol Fire at Emo’s

Lead singer and guitarist, Kevin McKeown has become famous for his physicality at shows. With every other song McKeown was taking a stage dive, sprinting across the stage, or doing somersaults off the drums, all without missing a note. Eric Owen, drummer, didn’t have as much flash but made up for it in his consistency and dexterity. There was never a quiet moment because Owen never stopped drumming, even when he started to play a keyboard with one hand.

Black Pistol Fire is a two-man band, and if I hadn’t seen the performance, I would have guessed there were ten of them.

It was concerts like this one that made me love music. It wasn’t just the music itself or even the excitement of physically being there that gave me a sense of euphoria, it was the energy that the artists gave as they were playing. They had played their hearts out and it created a sense of nostalgia that you could only feel then.

Being there and seeing these bands reminded me of times like when I first got a guitar for Christmas, when I first discovered my favorite band, and now I was able to add the first time I saw them live to the collection of memories. Live music has been absent for a long time for all of us, but it’s coming back, and it has been long overdue.

Featured Image by Christian Villarreal

Written by: ktsw899

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