Concert Review

Concert Review: Late Night Drive Home

todayAugust 15, 2023 43 1

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By Natalia Velazquez

Music Journalist

On August 5, I attended a concert for the El Paso band, Late Night Drive Home at Empire
Control Room and Garage in Austin. Late Night Drive Home is one of my favorite bands of the
indie rock genre, so when I saw they were going on tour I bought tickets immediately.

They are a four-person group that really came into their sound in 2021 and since then, they have gained almost one million monthly listeners on Spotify. In 2022, they released their first album How Are We Feeling?

My boyfriend and I arrived at Empire around 8 p.m., I was a bit unsure of what to expect as it
was my first time at Empire. When the doors opened, we were greeted with an already great
experience as we were closer to the stage than expected and staff provided water for the

The opening acts were incredible, playing about an average 30-minute set each. The first band
was Sam Ray Club, another group that hailed from El Paso. Right away I loved their sound as
they were very energetic and interactive with the crowd. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they progress as they’ve only been around for about a year. The second group was a band I
was fairly familiar with, Benches. I had heard several of their songs before, my favorite being “It
Doesn’t Have to Change.” Their set was more mellow compared to Sam Ray Club, yet the
crowd never stopped grooving. I definitely gained more appreciation for these groups after
seeing them live.

Thirty minutes after Benches finished their set, the lights turned low, the filler music paused, and Late Night Drive Home came onto the stage. Their lead singer, Andre Portillo, came out wearing a mask and headphones, as they opened with their latest single, “Drug Asphyxiation.” The crowd’s high energy remained buzzing as they transitioned into their next song “Star Love” (my personal favorite), and Portillo took the mask off to reveal his face. After the crowd settled, they announced they were playing a cover song. I was very surprised when it was revealed to be “Tear In My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots. Hearing that song many years after my intense TOP middle school phase felt very healing and I had a smile the whole time. They also played an unreleased song that made me very excited for possible new releases.

Early into the show, however, their guitarist, who goes by Ocks, was experiencing technical
difficulties with his instrument. During this short intermission, the band performed half of “We
Are Young” by Fun and also did a little snippet of Spongebob instrumentals to keep a positive
energy going. There was never a dull moment at this show. There were constant crowd
interactions that ensured everyone was involved with the music, even if they did not know all of
the songs. The band made an effort to ensure their love for Texas and several fans gave the
members gifts that they later showed off on social media.

They ended their setlist with their song “Euphoria,” having the crowd go full force jumping up
and down with mosh pit. However, the show was not fully over, as the band had one more cover
in store for us. Their goodbye to the audience was accompanied with “Baby” by Justin Bieber
and the crowd, while initially taken aback, jumped around just as hard as they did to the
previous song, “Stress Relief.”

Overall, I loved everything about this concert and would 100% attend another Late Night Drive
Home show. I’m very excited to see this band grow and I really hope I get to see them again

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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