The Future's So Bright
Jam Fest brings Austin U21 and U18 bands together
By Aaron Miller,
12:42PM, Mon. Nov. 23, 2009
After The Kids Are Alright Fest debut last year and the wildly successful South by Southwest Underage Day Party, premier U21 event organizer James Mays created yet another showcase for young talent: Jam Fest. This year’s Jam Fest was held at the Belmont and benefited the Eanes Education Foundation.
South of Center kicked the afternoon off with upbeat roots rock. I was particularly impressed by this group’s songwriting, well developed for their age. Next was Loose Wheels. When I heard a five-part harmony soar out from underneath the canopy of the Belmont’s outdoor stage, I thought I was listening to a recording. When I looked down and saw that harmony was live and being sung by a group of middle school and early high school-aged men, I was blown away. Most adults never quite master the art of harmony, but Loose Wheels unleashed harmonies that Brian Wilson would be proud of. With a cover of "Carry On My Wayward Son" and an a capella doo-wop piece, Loose Wheels solidified their spot as an up-and-coming heavyweight in the U18 scene. The Fireants were impressive as always, Aftermath unleashed another incredibly tight performance, and both Thornbjorn and Comintern dazzled the audience with staggeringly intricate instrumental sets. Georgia Napolitano, who was honored by the City of Austin on Thursday, closed the night, displaying her mastery of stage presence and pop-star style. It's going to take the right place and right time to turn Napolitano into the next Miley Cyrus.
A long Saturday at the Belmont. I left feeling fatigued but pleased - every act further solidified Austin’s bright musical future.