Up-and-coming Band of Heathens play Frisco Block Party
Fans of Americana/roots rock will dig the sounds of The Band of Heathens, who return to the High Country this Saturday to headline Frisco’s first Block Party with a free 6 p.m. show on Main Street.Often compared to The Band based on the “musical finesse that overlays their timeless, rootsy core,” the Band of Heathens (TBoH) is made up of three founding singer/songwriter frontmen who met in 2006 after getting separate residency gigs on the same night at a Sixth Street Austin, Texas club – plus a bassist and drummer. Together, they make up an egalitarian quintet in which music is filtered through “the collaborative power of five music-loving minds” to produce a distilled, quality sound.Their music pays homage to artists at Americana’s core including the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Tony Joe White, George Harrison, Leon Russell and others.TBoH boasts several major achievements since visiting Frisco last. In 2010, the band played more than 200 tour dates, appeared at top festivals around the country including Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, completed a taping of the PBS series “Austin City Limits” with Elvis Costello and recorded a new studio album.Their third studio release, “Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son,” was produced by the same George Reiff who worked with the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, Courtyard Hounds and Ray Wylie Hubbard. The album is described as “reaching, rocking, bluesy, funky and enjoyable as hell, from its rocking opening to its serene acoustic conclusion.”The trippy, hand-illustrated album cover evokes ’60s or ’70s era psychadelica in keeping with some of the band’s influences and also with “Gravity,” a track described as “organ-generated psychedelic colors.” Other tracks include the hoodoo-toned “Medicine Man,” the current-event-focused, “Enough,” and “Free Again,” a reflection on the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and our ability to look the other way when bad things happen. “There’s a whole big brown bubbling mess in the Gulf of Mexico/Showing up on people’s steps and there ain’t no place it can go … But we are free again, we’re free again/To turn off our mind, just unwind and let ’em put it back together again,” the playful but sarcastic lyrics indict.”The Austin quintet’s third studio album, their best-written and most fun to date, rocks n’ rolls with righteous conviction,” the Pasadena Weekly said. The two prior studio albums have their own merits too, however, as both shot to the top of the Americana chart and remained there for months. TBoH was honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards, and the Washington Post’s Jim Fusilli called theirs the best set he saw at South by Southwest in 2009.”Frisco has missed out on booking bands before they got too big a few times in the past,” said town spokesperson Suzanne Lifgren. “We passed on The Fray in 2007 and just a few months later they were commanding a $55 ticket at the Pepsi Center. I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and that is why we are so lucky to have the Band of Heathens for the Frisco Block Party. Mark my words – they will be huge!”The Band of Heathens plays Main Street at 6 p.m. Saturday, but the music kicks off at 1 p.m. with the “cool, funky jazz” of The Brian Hornbuckle Band, whose frontman played with ZZ Top and the Doobies, followed at 3:45 p.m. by The Congress, whose music the Vail Daily described as “vintage R&B textures, Appalachian harmonies and free-form psychedelic solos,” for a total of six hours of free live music.The new Frisco Block Party carries on the spirit of past Music on Main Street events but is restyled to be more family, pet, and local-business friendly. Backcountry Brewery and Sam Adams will have libations available and The Lost Cajun, Tuscato, The Blue Spruce and Pete’s Good Eats are the showcased food vendors. A portion of proceeds from food and beverage sales will benefit the Family Intercultural Resource Center.
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