“Dude, we’re about to go to HOTS practice!” Bennett Mains says he and Zabi Naqshband kept repeating those words during dinner at the latter’s house last Thursday, marveling at the new chapter being written for a story that ended abruptly three years ago.
Later in the night, inside 11th Street Records’ studio, the pair met up with Vanessa Tidwell, marking the first time the longtime lineup for Holding Onto Sound, known by its fans as HOTS, had been in the same practice room since 2013. A few days later, the group took its reunion one step further, joining back up with fourth member Bob Gates.
The reason? A one-off return to the stage May 13 at the Bunkhouse. And the impetus behind that reappearance? An even larger revival, by Vegas-scene collective Macro-Fi, featuring additional reunion sets from The Skooners, One Pin Short, Outside Looking In and others. “Macro-Fi had a huge impact here,” Naqshband says. “It had a really good, diverse roster, and those were some of the best times for me musically, those Bunkhouse days and First Fridays and shows at the Art Bar and Gypsy Den. Macro-Fi played a big part in that.”
Holding Onto Sound, the Weekly’s pick as the Valley’s Best Live Band in 2010 and 2011, released three albums and toured across the U.S. during its nine-year run. The quartet last performed March 1, 2013 at Yayo Taco, then split without warning the next month when Mains announced his departure to deal with personal demons. The guitarist and vocalist has since moved to Austin, Texas, where he works in a coffeehouse and plays country music in a duo with cellist Jodi Lang.
“We went out without saying goodbye, so this is an opportunity to show people how much we appreciate them,” Mains says. “For [my ex-bandmates] to be willing to do this, my gratitude is through the roof. It’s gonna be a beautiful experience that I think everyone will remember forever.”
Naqshband, who sang and played bass in HOTS, now serves that role in Vegas trio Illicitor, which also features Gates on guitar and vocals (along with drummer Micah Malcolm). Tidwell, who drummed for Illicitor briefly, hasn’t been part of a band since, though she’s maintained her chops in her free time. “It felt like she’s a better drummer than ever,” Naqshband says of Thursday’s rehearsal. “The energy was awesome, and after three or four songs everything really clicked. We’re gonna try to play as much Friday as we can before we pass out, just like we used to.”
Holding Onto Sound with The Skooners, One Pin Short, Outside Looking In, Hassan, Late for Dinner, Scott Quering. May 13, 7 p.m., $10. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.