Due to prior band engagements that included out-of-town shows, hangovers — and general flakiness — I was only able to make it to one night of the second-annual Off Beat Music Festival. What I did manage to witness at The Saint on Saturday night was one of the most eclectic and engaging lineups I’ve ever seen in Reno. Yes, my band played, but we were admittedly, and by far, the low point in the evening. The rest of the bands slayed.
This indie rock four piece combined introspective lyrics, atmospheric synths, and a driving rhythm section to kick the night off. Lead singer and songwriter Marcus Stoesz’s nasally howl was attention grabbing without being off-putting and songs such as“Sucker Fish” infectious without being schmaltzy. The collection of Stoesz, backed up by Taylor McElroy on bass, Jeremie Ruest on guitar and Kyle Skelton, on drums proved to be a tour-de-force of off-kilter pop craftsmanship.
This set was something of a homecoming for the Las Vegas natives. Even from eight hours away, Rusty Maples has a local fanbase that rivals most local groups. With a brand new album of material, they did not disappoint. Bolstered by a new and markedly improved rhythm section (Mike McGuiness on drums and Lil Nicky Boswell on bass), the Dewane brothers hypnotized the crowd with their sugar-sweet harmonies and a slew of immediately singable choruses.
Highlights of the set included old standbys such as “Runner” and “Mausoleums” as well as new tunes from “Detach” such as the anthemic “Road Less Traveled.” Boswell and McGuiness seemed to have breathed new life into the project and the group already is planning a tour to promote the new album. Keep an eye out for them in a town near you.
By far the hippest band on the bill, the dual synth attack of NRVS LVRS from San Francisco was a striking change of pace. The electro-pop five piece played a tight, cohesive set of dark, mid-tempo electronic tunes.
Fronted by vocalists/keyboardists Andrew Gomez and Bevin Fernandez, the group sounds like a mix between The National and CHVRCHES.
Another band that calls San Francisco home, The Seshen is seven piece electro-neo-soul group. It wowed the audience with sultry vocals, sleek instrumentation and an overall danceably post-modern sound.