On April 27, a line wrapped around the bottleneck as people waited to get into a sold out show for Cowboy Indian Bear and Hembree. You could feel the anticipation in the line. Between Cowboy Indian Bear playing a reunion show and Hembree playing their major release show (the day before they played an intimate house show) there was major excitement in the air. You could feel major energy in the room long before Cowboy Indian Bear took the stage. All around the room you could see many people who show up for the music community talking and laughing. The Bottleneck was packed with long time fans of both bands. It was clear it was going to be a special night before it had even begun.
The first time I heard Cowboy Indian Bear I fell in love, hard. I felt like their music ripped me wide open. It didn’t take long to realize that they were no longer playing and that was a blow. Their music is stunning; the lyrics are beautiful and the harmonies are haunting. Their music has a big sound that feels almost symphonic. It had been several years since Cowboy Indian Bear had played a show, listening to them play you’d never know. Their sound was tight and clean. In their album the music is full of feeling and well having rock vibes, it feels chill. Hearing them live there was a whole new depth to their music. There was a passion that exploded through the speakers. It was like the vibe had switched from something chill with rock undertones to rock. When they played “Let It Down” I nearly lost it; the song was so full of feeling and beautiful.
It was hard to go up from the energy that Cowboy Indian Bear, but Hembree was up to the challenge. Hembree played their way through their new album. I once heard someone say after a Hembree show “Now that’s a band who knows how to rock!” And wow was that ever true this night. There was a pride in their music that was evident on stage along with a joy to share their album on stage. The crowd packed closer and closer to the stage soaking in the music and the joy and energy passed right back to the stage. It was a miracle the building was still standing by the end of the set. Tickets to their show should have come with a warning label “Combustible music! Keep away from flame!” The album itself is killer if you haven't listened yet, put it on right now and spin the whole album. You won't regret it. It's hard to pick a favorite song of the album because they're all great. Most of the album is high energy get your dancing shoes on rock, but there's a sweet moment in the album on their song "Heart" and you could feel a slight softening when they play the song live. The energy in the room shifted up even higher when they played Culture, Continents, Holy Water, Can't Run Forever, and House on Fire. When Hembree plays Culture live you can feel the power blast as they sing this song reminding the audience that there's a price to pay to be the king of the culture. They way they use every inch of the stage to rock on the highest energy songs beckons the crowd to join the dance. This show was one of the best of 2019 without a doubt.
There’s no better way to follow up Hembree then a dance party DJed by No Dancing Productions. Despite the name, lots of people were dancing. DJs Alex and Austin (also in the band Hembree) know how to throw a dance party. Groups of friends dancing were melting into big groups with new people joining. If you want to make a friend, go see Hembree or dance at a No Dancing Productions dance party. I’ve made new friends time and time again at these shows. It says a lot about a band when it’s full of people you can become friends with. The dance floor was filled with people smiling and dancing the night away.