Clever Heads Prevail Bring the Heat to Swan Dive

On a brisk Thursday night Red River’s Swan Dive became the evening’s home to First Time in Color, Denizens, and Clever Heads Prevail. The chilly weather couldn’t keep a warm and welcoming crowd away, however.

The night begins with First Time in Color, a 4-piece outfit from Austin that specializes in indie-rock with dance-pop sensibilities. Holding down the middle set, Denizens take the stage with their aggressive ambiance, tinted with jazz and funk. Finally, San Marcos’ Clever Heads Prevail finish up the night with their southern-blues rock, captivating the crowd with an inclusive reach that spans across many genres.

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Boasting a Killers t-shirt, First Time in Color vocalist/bassist E.Z. Maldonado awakens the Swan Dive crowd with a demand for noise. In an excited response, the crowd jumps and dances to the beat of drummer Alex La Fuente. Most songs resemble a heart-on-the-sleeve mentality with a passionate release from Maldonado and his bandmates. Heavy drums, velvet bass lines, thick keys and catchy guitar riffs inject the crowd with pure adrenaline, giving off enough energy to keep the party going all night. Guitarist Rix Landa proves to be the melodic centerpiece, providing a steady flow of fast-paced, groovy riffs. Most characterized by their possessive chords and radio-rock style, the quartet’s dance-ready sound makes for a memorable set. As they finish, Maldonado hints at a new album in the works.

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The Denizen’s concept of aggressive percussion striking against an ambient noisescape created a sense of intimacy in the room. Vocalist Chris Michael’s dramatic flair fills the venue and the room bursts alive in response to the group’s dynamic, polyrhythmic and color-filled art-noise. Soaring notes guide a frenzied chorus of melodies and this band is all about intense chordal structures interweaving with trance-inducing rhythms and thought-provoking trends. After bassist Kyle Garcia’s string breaks, a helpful Maldonado loans out his bass in an act of camaraderie. “Life doesn’t prepare you for a broken bass string,” Michael attests. Soon thereafter, the group was back to their craft.

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Closing out the night, Clever Heads Prevail took to the stage with friends and fans surrounding them. Vocalist Jose Jimenez is met by cheers as he adorns a cowboy hat and introduces the quartet. It’s as if an angry Mac Demarco began a folk-rock band. Each member bears a grin as they relentlessly rock in perfect tune with each other. The San Martians specialize in a cascading form that guarantees intimacy. As they perform their latest single, “Mumbles,” the group finds a home on the stage. Sprinkles of fans can be seen mouthing along. Ever-so-talented, guitarist Micah Krejcha offers a slew of frenzied solos through the show, wowing even the doorman. From math-rock to heavy blues, Clever Heads Prevail can do it all. Check out the show highlights below.

First Time In Color 

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Denizens

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Clever Heads Prevail

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Article by: Sawyer Click
Photos by: Valerie Riels @photo.atx
Photos and Video by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto

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