I was in no way prepared for the rhythm and blues ass whoopin’ KickAction Collective threw down at Rattle Inn last Friday. The boundary bending, four-piece made up of rockers from all shapes, shades and sexes was in the house celebrating the release of their debut EP, From Shadows.
According to their social, the band ‘aims to cross genres, mixing and mashing sounds to create a unique musical experience.’ But, in all fairness, that mission statement doesn’t even begin to describe just how exhilarating KickAction Collective (KAC) is live. ‘Each performance is a journey of raw emotion that must be witnessed to immerse yourself in the wave of music.’ Now that’s more like it. So let’s get into it.
Friday night began with an opening set from Austin’s DIY alternative-pop duo, SHEiLAVA. The band consists of songwriters Sheila V.A. and Jason Garcia, but on Friday, had grown into a full-blown five-piece with the addition of strings and brass. Think of your favorite electo-pop acts from the 80’s…throw in some heartfelt singer-songwriter folk…top it off with classical jazz and precise, silky smooth vocals and voila…SHEiLAVA.
The band released their debut full-length, Nonsense, earlier this summer and covered several album favorites Friday night…such as the whimsical ballad ‘Where is the Ghost’, the downbeat and sensual ‘Less Than Fair’ and the bouncy, infectiously catchy lead single, ‘Bomb Shelter’. SHEiLAVA displayed some courageous ethereal pop grounded by singer-songwriter sophistication. No lie, I’ve been repeating ‘don’t touch the lava’ since Friday.
KickAction Collective took the stage next bringing all the beautiful creatures to the front of the room to witness a performance that was intimate, but at the same time, live AF. As mentioned earlier, KAC is comprised of an array of artists from various backgrounds that all comes together for damn good, party rock entertainment. The band consists of Jaden Jostrand (lead vocals & bass), Gary Still (guitar & vocals), Geoff Trujillo (drums) and Julia Canales (violin and rhythm guitar).
From Shadows starts with an enticing game of cat and mouse in ‘The Chase Is On’ that’s highlighted by Jostrand’s cascading vocals and Canales’ seductive background sonnet. ‘Pen Pals’, the EP’s bluesy lead single, ignites with anticipatory Spanish chords and fiery duel vocals from Jostrand and Still layered over a blistering rock melody and flashy bow throwing from Canales. Watching Still and Canales trade-off in a strings solo tug-of-war on ‘Pen Pals’ was absolutely jaw-dropping. Trujillo shines with a sporadic barrage of percussion during the speedy ‘Shadows in the Dark, Pt. 1’. However, this track belongs to Still and his skirting guitar licks and blistering, bottom string solo that immediately took me Back to The Future like Marvin Berry watching Marty McFly at The Enchantment Under The Sea dance. This is how rock was meant to be played. Still took over lead duties on the jazzy EP closer ‘Shadows in the Dark, Pt. 2’ while Jostrand painted the background with crooning vocals and a howling, celebratory crescendo.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I entered Rattle Inn on Friday night. But, I guarantee you I wasn’t planning to be floored by the inspirational rock intensity of KickAction Collective. This is classic party rock for a brand new generation. The band is currently working on their full-length follow up to From Shadows. For more information check them out here. In the meantime, enjoy the images below captured at the From Shadows Release Party at Rattle Inn.
Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun