Have you ever attended a perfect concert? I don’t just mean you saw a band put on a good show, I mean, opening band to closing band perfect concert. I am talking happy fans, perfect weather, short drink lines, and positive vibes. Friday night at the Whitewater Music Amphitheater in New Braunfels TX was one of those times.
The night began with the sweet sounds of Seranation, who for an opening band sure played as if they were the main event. They put on the type of performance that continues to remind us that sometimes it pays to get to shows as early as possible. This high energy group of young Floridians fits right in with the likes of Sublime and Michael Franti and it doesn’t take a genius to recognize the bright future of this exceptionally talented band.
I often find myself waiting for the opening bands to finish quickly in anticipation for the headliners. Staring at my watch to see if I can calculate how much longer I have to sit through the early acts. Common Kings took the stage next and they were mediocre and boring….JUST KIDDING!? I was just checking to see if you were still paying attention. They were off the hook amazing! Common Kings are one of those “Soundtracks of summer” type bands, meaning that every time they play they remind you of how great summer makes you feel. Chill vibes, warm sunny beaches, and smooth tunes on the radio…THAT is Common Kings. I went to this show knowing that Sublime and Franti would be outstanding but Common Kings impressed me so much I can say without hesitation or reservation that I will be a fan for life. Hands in the air, Flags waving on stage and rabbit costumes highlighted a truly fun and wonderful concert experience from these guys.
Metaphors and analogies have been flooding my mind for the past couple of hours as I try to describe the performance of Michael Franti & Spearhead. I don’t know if the same old words will ever do him justice but hear me out for a moment. Michael Franti hit a grand slam, out of the ballpark home run in New Braunfels Texas Friday night. He stepped up to the plate and tore the cover off the freaking ball! The man takes the stage and the entire crowd breaks into what can only be described a Richard Simmons “Sweatin to the oldies” aerobics routine. It was probably the most positive and uplifting concert experience of my life. It would have been enough for him to just take the stage and play his wonderful songs but he took it to another level. 4 songs in and he is in the middle of the crowd surrounded by fans singing with his arms outstretched to the sky screaming out “You’re number one baby!”. Next thing you know he is at the back of the Amphitheater putting on a cowboy hat, taking selfies with fans while not missing a single note. I am not sure how much time he actually spent on stage but every single person in that venue felt the presence of Michael Franti. I am not sure what a typical Michael Franti show is like but I have a feeling he also recognized how monumental this performance was. If you are the type of person who needs a heavy dose of positivity and love, get out to see a Michael Franti show! It might end up changing your life.
Sublime w/Rome was not going replicate the insanity of Michael Franti but everyone in attendance didn’t expect that they would. They had their moments of high energy sure, but I think they intended to send the crowd home feeling chilled out and content. I have been a fan since I was a teen and really believe that these guys are at the top of their game right now. I say that because even though they most certainly played the tunes they were most known for, I found myself rocking out to their recent (2011-Present) music the most. Their latest album Blessings is excellent and it makes me so happy to see how far they have come. I am not sure if it’s because of the new album but the band as a whole seemed to be energized and refocused. Honestly, in my humble opinion the best performance by this band to date. (of the 4 times I have seen them live) My favorite moment of their set was when Mata of Common Kings joined them on stage for a killer version of “What I got”. I spoke to a variety of fans and all of them were in agreement that this was one of the best shows they had seen in a while. Overall, you really couldn’t have asked for a better Friday night in Texas.
- Derek Jones
Photos by Derek Jones