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Raucous, rowdy, and nothing if not fun, Bright Light Social Hour is everything we fell in love with when we first discovered rock and roll. The group puts out the kinds of bluesy jams we blasted from our reeking bedrooms during junior high, as we listened to classic rock gods such as Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band while staring at fuzzy posters that glowed beneath a black light.
But that's not to say this crew is a modern-day purveyor of vintage riffs. The band's sound is entirely updated, shifting seamlessly between searing slide solos and rampaging indie-rock romps, often within the very same song. And along with classic rock heroes, the outfit cites contemporary influences such as My Morning Jacket and Yeasayer, though Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse are more appropriate points of comparison.
It's this harmonious balance that has won Bright Light Social Hour a serious fan base in its native state of Texas, landing the band onstage at SXSW. Becoming a force to be reckoned with in the seat of the Austin City Limits Festival is an impressive feat.
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"With such a huge amount of great bands and musicians, competition in the live music capital of the world can be fierce, which has forced us to be innovative and relentless in developing our sound and live show," says bassist Jack O'Brien. "At the same time, it's a very supportive community, eager to give and eager to receive."
He also says there is "a relationship we'd like to continue to grow in Miami, and elsewhere across the country." And Bright Light Social Hour is off to a good start: The city got a kick out of the band during Miami Music Festival in December. "We had a blast at the fest, fell in love with Miami, and y'all seemed to dig us," says O'Brien. "Of course, we're coming back!"
The crowd in attendance for that Friday night MMF showcase at Transit Lounge was treated to Bright Light Social Hour's unyielding energy, as O'Brien introduced one song after another as a song about "fucking" before charging headfirst into the jams.
"All things at their core are about fucking," he jokes. It's an off-the-cuff comment that's more an indication of Bright Light Social Hour's playful approach to music than an actual description of the band's tunes. And take the crew's self-titled full-length debut as an example: Released just last year after a pair of EPs in 2005 and 2008, it is a wild, nine-song roll in the hay that displays an unabashed lust for life. "We had a blast recording it," O'Brien says. "And [we're] very proud and excited about the result. It's a good time."
That much is undeniable, and fun-loving seems to be a constant of the band's style.
"It's all been very natural," he says. "We like to throw down and we love to shake our asses. So we try to create new music for those who enjoy both."