SCHED* SXSW 2011 has ended
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The Hi-Tones

Catching your first live performance by The Hi-Tones is a bit like the title of one of their more popular songs, “Hit and Run” (not including the internal bleeding, of course). Everything happens so quickly, you’re left somewhat dazed and confused, and you can’t be exactly certain of what you’ve just witnessed. What you’re sure of is that it will take a little time before you go back to feeling normal after being run over by their retro brand of raw, jangly dance rock. The members of the band currently reside in Austin, and all of them have roots in Texas. Lead singer Johnny Flores, who also does most of the band’s booking and management, grew up in Corpus Christi with Gary Delgado. Delgado is a multi-instrumentalist (as is most of the band) that primarily plays bass in their live shows, as well as a major role in the writing and arrangement of the group’s songs. The friends of fifteen years have been partners in various musical projects over the last eight. Kurt Lammers began playing drums at 10 years old. After spending his childhood in West Texas, he moved to the Dallas area, where he was in a high school drum corps that eventually led to him playing for the band at the University of Arkansas. He joined The Hi-Tones after moving to Austin through the recommendation of a mutual friend, and has been playing with them for a little over a year. The direction and evolution of the band has much to do with the addition of guitar player Kyle Abrams this past Summer. Abrams gritty and futuristic style combine elements of modern psychelelia and vintage tones. Originally from Midland, Abrams is a self taught guitar player with a smooth yet experimental style. The simple title of their first release, “The Hi-Tones EP”, belies the complexity and attention to detail involved in putting the album together. Delgado credits the time they spent working with industry veteran Oscar Houchins for the paradigm shift in their approach to music. Houchins, a professional musician during the sixties and seventies that worked with acts like Tommy James and The Shondells, was instrumental in getting them to understand the difference between “writing” and “crafting” a song. “He introduced us to a more professional type of approach to music,” says Delgado. “We spent many nights going over lyrics, arrangements, and vocal harmony parts. Learning how to craft songs that express what we are trying to express in a way that’s accessible to a mainstream audience. We continue that approach today, and our next set of recordings, which should be done by the end of the year, will reflect that.” If mainstream accessibility is their goal, then they are headed in the right direction. The Hi-Tones are one of a dying breed of band whose music has the ability to bridge the generation gap. With enough energy and head-bobbing beats to appeal to a younger audience, they maintain a certain vintage quality to their sound to make a more (ahem) mature listener feel nostalgic for long-gone early rock and soul acts. Having been described as “a free-wheeling blur of snappy dance moves”, Flores sets the energetic pace for the group’s live performances. Whether it’s James Brown-style shimmying and foot-shuffling or Jim Morrison-esque gyrations with his back to the audience, Flores never stops moving. He performs onstage like he’s Tom Cruise in that famous scene from Risky Business – a complete lack of inhibition, just letting go and giving in to the song. “I try to see through the audience and envision myself on my own plane,” explains the singer. “Every performance could be your last.” -David Jordan Texarkana Gazette

My Artists Sessions

Saturday, March 19

8:00pm CDT