College Survival Guide
Must-see local bands
If you’ve never been to a Brotherhood show, or been within a 5-mile radius of one, you might be excused for thinking the local metallurgists are some kind of hippy-dippy peace-and-love outfit. But think “brotherhood” not in the sense of a saccharine plea for global unity but rather an organization of sinister, hooded monks performing ritualistic human sacrifices for some shadowy purpose. Brotherhood is a hard-hitting standout in a city full of high-caliber shredders and screamers.
Vocalist-guitarist Erik Sanden propels the band’s goofy, carefree stage presence into full-on bar-band mode, balancing giddy “bahbahbah” harmonizing with a bottom-heavy mix. Single-name bassist Odie, in signature cowboy hat and braided goatee, provides the rhythmic momentum while Sanden dances jigs and breaks out the megaphone for the occasional Kinks cover.
Girl in a Coma
GIAC played the Vans Warped Tour, opened for the Toadies, Frank Black, and the Pogues, and released 2007 debut Both Before I’m Gone on Joan Jett’s Blackheart label. They possibly could’ve done it all solely on the strength of Nina Diaz’s purring vocals and chiming guitar work, but if you assume the tight and versatile rhythm section — provided by big sister Phanie and family friend Jenn Alva — is simply vegging out in the background, you’re completely brain dead.
Singer Ernest Isaac Benavidez stalks the stage while guitarists Jorge Luevano and Derek Badillo take turns diddling the blues scale. Drummer John Martinez manages, somehow, to keep time. It’s no wonder this hard-rock band with a hair-metal swagger was once invited to play in front of Mötley Crüe.
This Alamo City-founded hip-hop duo has since relocated, but MCs Tre and Easy Lee — backed by the Family Band, a tight jazz combo featuring keyboard, guitar, drums, six-string bass, and a DJ — still rep SA, and make highly anticipated live appearances a few times each year. Even if they didn’t they’d still make this list for having a song called “Voodoo Coochie.”
We’re not claiming that this band of accordion-fueled, Spanglish rockers who combine norteño, polka, and punk couldn’t have been conceived outside of San Antonio, but we will say if someone had the idea for a Dead Kennedy/Flaco Jiménez hybrid somewhere else, they would’ve had a hard time convincing three other musicians to play along.
Local MC Daniel “Question” Boskind was blessed/cursed recently when his throwaway novelty track “Dance Like a White Boy” received some minor buzz and radio airplay, but don’t confuse him with 2 Live Jews. The rest of Question’s heady discography samples acts such as the Velvet Underground and is more likely to address war or addiction than hack stand-up premises.
Upon a Burning Body
UABB skull-stomp the line between thrash metal and hardcore with high-speed riffs and complex timing change-ups. Live, their high-speed shows quickly become sweaty physical endurance tests for crowds of devoted kids who know all the growled lyrics and are more likely to throw up a middle finger than devil horns.
Drummer Mateo Arredondo eggs on Myke Miranda and Chris Rocha’s double-edged guitar fight till you practically feel each note slash the air around your face. Miranda’s got the vocal delivery to match, achieving that weird blend of detachment and intensity usually found only on late-’70s art-rock albums, but the music sounds more like an obscure record-shop find than indie kids aping music from a decade they didn’t live through.
The Vultures aren’t fucking around here. The local hip-hop collective’s song titles (“Bloody Pools,” “Mic Slaughter”) seem like evidence enough for some pretty serious jail time, and on record, the Vultures play the part of flesh-eating psychos, spitting breathless threat-filled verses over raw, simplistic beats with hardly a hook to be heard. Onstage, though, they’re grinning between lines, bouncing to the beat, generally having such a good time performing they can’t be bothered to actually deliver on promises to leave you “packed in a pine box, spine popped from fatal blows.”