One of the largest music festivals in the country took place last week in Austin, Texas. Needless to say, reggae rockers overran the country music enthusiasts from all corners of the country. Three rising acts that invaded the ATX Wildfire for fans of The Pier were Micah Brown from Orange County, CA, Josh Heinrichs from St. Louis, MO and Phoenix, AZ’s very own Fayuca. All three bands had differently routed touring schedules leading up to the Wildfire festival, but the one common theme driving all of the bands was their love to play live music.
For Fayuca, this is not their first rodeo down to the lone star state. Lead singer and guitarist, Gabriel Solorzano explained that, “This is our third year playing the South by Southwest festival, and we go back to Texas at least one time throughout the year. So, we have been there at least six or seven times! We have played Austin a ton, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi… our show there actually went really long, but it was a blast!”
The bands and performers were having a blast, and as the night went on, that fun was being spread all over the festival grounds. Gabe went on to say, “It seemed like we had the perfect time slot. As soon as we went on, the place was packed! After us, Josh Heinrichs played, and his crowd was nuts. Obviously, for HR (Bad Brains), the crowd was great. It was a good response, though. We killed it, the crowd loved us, and everyone was dancing. It was funny because they were all over at our booth asking for autographs and pictures. We couldn’t have asked for a better response!”
After a few years of touring Texas, and Austin specifically, Fayuca has built a loyal following within the southwest. Although, it is safe to say Fayuca’s fanbase will soon grow exponentially if their recent High Times Magazine Doobie Award for Best Underground band of 2012 is any indication! The ecstatic Gabriel had this to say about the recent accolades: “After all the madness and commotion, just when you thought it was over… BOOM! It was like the icing on the cake for our trip.”
However, SXSW and the ATX Wildfire festivals, were not limited to just full bands and endless ensembles. Micah Brown and Josh Heinrichs brought their six-string acoustic guitars and soulful voices to the artistic festivities. The same sentiment of complete enjoyment while on stage and traveling on the road continued to hold true for singer/songwriter Micah Brown.
“Austin was a blast! So much going on, it’s kind of overwhelming if you don’t have a plan of attack, but it’s pretty awesome just being involved and being a part of such a successful international event,” Brown said. Micah Brown also had the privilege of opening up for his good friends and recording partners at 17th Street Studios, The Dirty Heads to closeout the trek to Texas. “The Dirty Heads [surprise] show at Wahoo’s was really fun, great crowd and great energy. It’s always a good time playing with those guys.”
There was plenty of love and support from friends and artists in the industry, and everyone converging at one spot, all for the same reason.
The extremely approachable and impassioned Josh Heinrichs felt all the love, from all around as well. “What can I say? Austin, Texas has been very good to me. I have toured throughout the state with my good friend Cas Haley. For the show, we actually drove down the day of the show, and got there as Fayuca was playing. So, we just made it by the skin of our teeth.” Lucky for the crowd that they did, once the music pumped through the speakers, the crowd went bonkers.
“The crowd reaction and enthusiasm was unbelievable. It was a great time by everyone involved,” Heinrichs said. As for Heinrichs and SkillinJah performing side-by-side, “SkillinJah and myself used to be in a band called Jah Roots, so we played a lot of different songs, and sort of split the set between myself and Skillinjah’s music.”
“We got to meet so many new people and hang out with everyone who played. Talking with all the performers and sitting with the guys from Ashes of Babylon and 77 Jefferson and HR and Norwood Fisher.” To hear Heinrich’s enthusiasm for each greeting is certainly a treasure, but his thoughts on all the fans who came out really rang true, “For all the fans to come out for a free show inside SXSW and come listen to our music is such a great feeling, and couldn’t ask for anything else.”
To share those same feelings, if you were at this event, the live music, the mile-wide smiles coming from the stage and from the crowd, as well as each and every handshake encounter along the way can all be filed under the category of “We couldn’t ask for anything else”.