It’s no Seattle, New York or Austin, but Las Vegas has produced its share of musical heavy weights. In recent years the Killers and Panic at the Disco have taken over the airwaves, and at Sunday night’s Local Bands Jam at the House of Blues, a slew of local bands proved that the Vegas music scene is just getting started.
The show opened with a set of high-energy pop punk tunes from Leaving Springfield. The band, which is made up of drummer and vocalist Matt Norcross and guitarist and singer Brent Kessler, is relatively new, but its musicians are Vegas veterans and together they produce a big sound. Following Springfield was local hard rock favorite Solidify, which played its new song, “Stories,” for the energetic crowd. “It’s a doozy,” lead singer Chase Grijalva warned. Solidify followed up with “Disarm,” one of their hits getting radio play on Area 107.9, the station sponsoring the event.
Also featured in the local rock showcase was three-piece band The Day After, another group that has enjoyed some Vegas celebrity after the release of their radio hit “Car Crash.”
By the time the headliner, Otherwise, was set to take the stage, the crowd had nearly doubled and began to resemble the sea of people that pack the House of Blues for national touring acts. I had seen an Otherwise acoustic show on Valentine’s Day at VooDoo Lounge, but I was totally unprepared for the high-energy, heavier sound that they brought to this show. Sporting a beard that looked like it had tiger stripes, lead singer Adrian Patrick carried the crowd through hits like “I am Spartacus” and “Shapes of Metal.”
I sat down with the band before the show to ask them a few questions about their future and the nature of being a local band in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Weekly: How did you guys come together as a band?
Adrian Patrick, lead singer: We all used to dance in a male strip revue.
Dave McMahan, drummer: Have you heard of the club Krave?
Ryan Patrick, guitarist: Here’s the real story. My brother Adrian and I were jamming in Otherwise and for about a year and a half now then we got together with these guy; fates came together. They were in different projects and we had been doing Otherwise and it wasn’t really working out and these guys came along about a year and a half ago and just started it off.
Radley Griego, bassist: We’re bringing sexy back.
What is the next big step for your band?
Adrian: What is not the next big step for us? We’ve got everything available to us. All five of us are ready to rock. The next step is the recording. We have a new management team, Kane Management. We’re still with our manager, Mark Hornsby, who’s the 6th member of this band.
Mark Hornsby, manager: We have a date with Mr. Elvis Baskette on the East coast at the end of August to record our EP and hopefully get signed and get a deal. He’s a big proponent of Otherwise, so we hope the music that we lay down is going to be good enough to get us a record deal so we can record a full length album by early next year.
How will this new music differ from the music you already have out?
Ryan: It’s way better. Some will make you want to punch babies, some others will make you want to hug them and make you want to hug and kiss a lot of women.
I remember you made quite the impression on the ladies at your Valentine’s show at VooDoo Lounge.
Ryan: Yeah I think that’s when I was dancing.
Dave: Wait - you gotta hear the story. So he shoves a chick that’s dancing on the table off and starts doing the pelvic thrust.
Ryan: Yeah, it was a fun night.
Do you still keep your day jobs or is this your only gig?
Radley: For now, 3/5 of us keep our day jobs.
Ryan: I go to school, thank you very much. I am in academia, furthering my knowledge via college.
Dave: He [Adrian] works the hardest- lots of pelvic thrusting. Does man whoring count?
Other local bands like Escape the Fate have gotten a lot of negative press lately for drug use and band disagreements. How hard is it to keep the band together?
Ryan: It’s like having a relationship between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. It’s a musical relationship. It’s five egos needing to be balanced.
Do you think Vegas presents its own set of obstacles for keeping a band together?
Adrian: Lack of venues. Definitely lack of venues for local bands.
Dave: We’ve just been very blessed that we’ve gotten to play where we’ve gotten to play. We’re on an island in terms of the city – people from L.A. can go up or go down but we’re on an island. Also, local bands are dealing with bright blinking lights and multi-million dollar shows on the Strip. We’ve got our little hub and we’re the little guy trying to say, “no, come party over here. It’s way funner.” Funner isn’t a word.
Jason: We’re dealing with corporations whose biggest thing is entertainment, so we’re trying to be involved/be our own thing at the same time.
Dave: But it is hard for bands in Vegas as opposed to other cities where there’s nothing going on Friday nights and everybody knows Jimmy’s Band is playing down at the Hogwhistle.
So, what are some other local bands that you guys like?
Adrian: We’re good friends with Lydia Vance. The Day After is one of my favorite bands. I dig Opium Alibi. And Solidify, those guys are our boys.
What’s the creative process like?
Ryan: It’s a process definitely. It usually involves us mad at each other for a couple of days.
Adrian: We’re lucky in the sense that it’s never really been difficult especially with the new material. I mean my brother and I have been jamming together for a long time now, but with these guys coming on a year and a half ago, it really streamlined the process. The songs sound professional. It’s a commercially viable product. But it’s still imbued with passion. It’s very genuine.
Who would you like to share the stage with one day?
Adrian: Incubus, Perfect Circle Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, Story of the Year, pretty much everybody that Elvis Vasquez has worked with. It’s kismet that we’re going to see him; sparks are going to fly.
What are your thoughts on the road ahead?
Dylan: Otherwise is a band that makes more money per show than many national touring acts. So what we’re hoping to do is just take what we’re doing in this city and multiply it in every other city. If we can just recreate what they’ve done in this market nationwide, worldwide; I think everybody can connect with Otherwise.