Group At Work: Bright Light Social Hour
“It was a false start for us,” Bright Light Social Hour bassist Jack O’Brien admits as he reflects on the band’s formation nearly eight years ago. O’Brien and guitarist Curtis Roush initially connected at Texas’ Southwestern University in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2008—when the band added drummer Joe Mirasole via Craigslist and enlisted friend AJ Vincent to play keys—that the newest Austin music phenomenon took off. Shortly after forming, the band released their self-titled debut album and swept the Austin Music Awards in 2011, launching them further into the spotlight.
Today, the powerhouse quartet is on the fast track to national attention much like fellow Austin predecessors White Denim and Explosions in the Sky. Playing sold-out shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom and late night slots at moe.down, the band calls on the sounds of James Brown and The Rolling Stones.
Combining the influence of former-DJ-turned-drummer Mirasole with the rock-oriented trio of Rush, Bright Light Social Hour creates air-tight grooves underneath boisterous guitar licks and vocals while still leaving plenty of room for improvisation, as evidenced by their popular songs “Back and Forth” and “Shanty.”
The group was on a roll until this past July when their van was broken into in Canada. Nearly $20,000 of equipment was suddenly gone in what O’Brien describes as “the greatest heartbreak we’ve dealt with as a band.” Many friends and fans showed their support to help them buy new gear.
That sense of community is why the band is honored to represent Austin. With a headlining gig at Stubb’s BBQ slated for late September, O’Brien admits, “I’m as excited or more excited to play that show in Austin than any of the other big gigs we’ve done recently.”
With plans to record their second album at the end of the year, BLSH will also open several dates for Umphrey’s McGee. For now, the group is eager to play hometown shows and enjoy their time off. As O’Brien makes clear, “We’re doing this for us, we’re doing this for our fans and we don’t give a shit what anybody thinks.”
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Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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