Southern Man

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Triple Concert Review - El Paso Hot Button, Minutes Too Few, and Umbrellas

Southern Man had scarcely finished off the previous post and was heading out to his car with an armload of partially-graded exams when the unmistakable strains of live music wafted from the campus mall, so he headed that way to find a free, open-air concert featuring the above-mentioned acts. Southern Man was fairly late to the show and missed the first two bands (turns out there were five all together), but here is Southern Man's review of at least a portion of this unexpected musical feast provided by bands he's never heard of.

Some truly fine hard-driving indie rock was jamming from the stage as Southern Man approached and he was flat-out astonished to see that El Paso Hot Button consists of one man - Mickey Reece, who operates from just a few miles south of casa Southern Man - who handles vocals, a mean guitar, and a foot-operated drum kit. Reece calls EPHB a rock project that started as a joke and is now a serious joke, with one split CD and one full-length CD out (both on the Little Mafia label). A couple of his songs deserve serious airplay and all readers are encouraged to check out the Sssnakes LP in particular. Southern Man wasted no time ripping Beat On The Drums from that CD for his workout tunelist and given that EPHB is a frequent performer in the metro area is looking forward to catching Reece's act again soon.

Next up was Minutes Too Far, who lists as their influences some of teenage son's favorite bands (All-American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, and Switchfoot) but won Southern Man's heart with a terrific cover of Tom Petty's Runaway about midway through their set. Their own music, such as Something You Really Ought To Know (which is also now one of Southern Man's workout MP3s), is well worth hearing and they deserve more airplay than they get. Lead singer Danny Black has more than a passing resemblence to Charlie of DriveSHAFT (in fact their entire performance was somewhat DriveSHAFT-esque) and their sound is not unlike that of The Ataris. Southern Man mentioned the latter to Stephen Burditt (bass) and Kris Monier (drums) after their set; Steve's response was "Yeah, we get a lot of that!" Thankfully, both took it as a compliment, which was as Southern Man intended. Both were also kind enough to not only autograph Southern Man's newly-purchased CDs but go to quite a bit of trouble to find a Sharpie so they could do so. Minutes Too Far really, really wants to get on the 2007 Warped Tour (which Southern Man will no doubt suffer through at least once, as it features son's all-time favorite band Hawthorne Heights and his other favorite band Underoath) so go to and vote for them! They're playing Saturday night right here in town so Southern Man may soon get a repeat listen to this fine band. Check out their sound at their label's website,

Last up was the event headliner group Umbrellas, an indie / emo band who's music has been featured on the television shows Grey's Anatomy, Jericho, and Alias, and are well known enough to have a Wikipedia page. Southern Man had the opportunity to hang out at the merchandise table before their set and chat for a bit with Geordan Taylor (bass) and Sammy Sherron (drums). Geordan and Sammy aren't actually proper Umbrellas but have joined frontman / songwriter Scott Windsor for the summer and fall tours - but since they were also kind enough to sign Southern Man's CDs they'll always be Umbrellas to him. The band's musical style varies somewhat but never wanders too far from ethereal, dreamy soundscapes - just the sort of music you would expect on the aforementioned TV shows. Although Southern Man didn't know a single song they did, the entire set was just terrific and he's looking forward to spending some time with their two CDs and becoming more familiar with their music. They are on The Militia Group label and Southern Man recommends that you give them a listen.

Southern Man was able to chat with Windsor for just a moment and when asked what he felt was his greatest musical influence, he immediately replied "Coldplay." Well, Southern Man knows that gf's oldest daughter is quite the Coldplay fan, so on a whim Southern Man sent her a text asking if she'd ever heard of Umbrellas. Turns out it's her "third-favorite band" and Southern Man ended up not only bagging her a concert t-shirt but holding his cell phone up during their performance of Ships, which turned out to be her favorite song from the band.

It should be quite the Summer of Music so stay tuned to Southern Man for more concert news and reviews!


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