Concert Review

Hot Whips & Soma Jerome at the San Marcos Secret Room

todayMarch 10, 2023 133

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By Tara Davis
Music Journalist

San Marcos’ hottest new commodity on the square has been dominating every weekend since they opened. Hosting drag shows, music shows, thrift markets, and more every Thursday through Sunday, the venue has been a bit busy. The San Marcos Secret Room is located on the square behind the beloved Gil’s Broiler & Manske Roll Bakery.  They are known for setting posters and artwork made by local artists. Expanding their variety, they have moved into starting a new thrift market every Sunday where they sell jewelry made by those in the community and more. They are open to throwing private events as a local venue space as well. The group is very active on Instagram, always posting new and repeating events.

I always see their posts and have been wanting to go to a show there for a while, but with having two jobs and a lot of extracurriculars, last Saturday was the first time I was actually able to go. Since it was a Saturday, parking on the square is limited so we parked at my friend’s apartment and walked to the show. There was a $10 cover fee regardless of age, but with the venue still being newer and trying to build their credibility, it makes sense. The show was supposed to start at 7:30, but didn’t start until around 8 so I’m wondering if just the doors opened at 7:30 and the show actually started at 8. I would recommend changing their advertising a little bit just to make sure they are accurate to the public.

The first band that performed was Hot Whips. I’d never heard of them before, but my first impressions were that they looked cool and looked like they were a rockish type vibe. The biggest thing about this band is that they had a female drummer, who absolutely killed the show. Their set was about an hour long and by the end of it, the lead singer looked over it. Rolling his hands, reading lyrics off his phone, it seemed like everyone else in the band was a lot more into being there and he just showed up because he had to. I’m not sure if this was his rockstar style of “idgaf”, but it was not the best look to me. At one point, he said that everyone should know this next song, played a popular Nirvana song, messed up the lyrics then started reading them off his phone… that’s just not it for me. The other members were energetic and, I believe, all of them had a moment to show off their skills in a solo during their set. Overall, the band was good, but I wished the lead singer would put a tad bit more effort into learning the songs they’re playing and watching his facial expressions when performing.

The second band, Soma Jerome, was the band we were there for. I’ve seen this band a handful of times before, including our own KTSW event at Third Thursday in January. I know this band kills it time and time again. They sang covers, but mostly originals and started the show off with a heavy rock intro that got the crowd moving and excited for what they were going to bring next. They were engaging the crowd by shouting back when someone would yell something out. I liked the fact that pretty much all of the band members took a chance to sing at least some part of a song. They even switched around and exchanged instruments at one point to show off they can do more than one skill. This band is going to go far in their career, they have the humble and grateful attitude so many of our local artists here have and it’s exciting to watch them get booked time and time again recently. They even got added to the new SXSW lineup happening March 17 and 18. (How exciting!)

low lighting with only glimpses of green, people in front and in foreground, you see lead singer of Soma Jerome
Soma Jerome performing at the Secret Room. Taken by Tara Davis.

Overall, the event was a lot of fun. If you are sensitive to loud noises, I would really consider maybe watching from outside the venue or bringing some earplugs since the space was small, I definitely felt my ears ringing for an hour or so after the show. Since the show started at 7:30 (really 8) p.m., and only had two bands performing, it ended relatively early, still leaving the opportunity to go out after on the square or back to a friends. I would recommend going to a show or stopping by the secret room at any time just to check out the trippy vibe. They are also always looking for new vendors, new bands, or help in other ways if you’re looking to get more involved. I would rate the show a solid 8.5/10, with the fact that the first band was eh.

Check out the Secret Room Here.

Check out Hot Whips Here.

Check out Soma Jerome Here.

Written by: Hannah Walls

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