Red Cortez is one of those bands that just grabs you and never lets go. You can see the passion in their eyes and feel it dripping from the music. The night that I saw them at SXSW was no different as they were definitely at their best. If you follow the site closely, you know how much of an infatuation we have with Red Cortez and what really grabs me about them is their soulful sound. There is something about the lyrics written by Harley Prechtel – Cortez that seem honest and when you see them live, this honesty is only confirmed by the intensity in his eyes. It’s almost as if he relives the stories he is telling as the melodies pour from his lips in the tune of a classic rock vibe.
It had been awhile since I had last seen them live and the first time I was taken back by the music as I had never heard it before. This time I was ready though, their EP, Hands to the Wall had been in my regular rotation for months now and it’s lyrics carved into my brain. To my delight though I was in for another unfamiliar experience. Just weeks before tonight’s performance the band had been in Europe recording their new record and those new songs were on display tonight. The first thing I noticed was how much more powerful the new content was, songs like “Over the City” and “Can’t Help the Writer” left me with nothing but excitement to hear the new album.
Though the new songs were welcomed, my personal favorites were still on display playing songs like: “Fell on the Floor,” and my personal favorite “Western Front.” Even though you could definitely feel Harley’s passion for the music, he didn’t go with out showing his softer, silly side to lighten the mood, shouting random mumblings as he introduced the band. This helped coax the crowd into Harley’s grasp. As the show went on the crowd only got bigger and all of them nodding their heads in unison could feel that something special was happening under the luminous blue lights.
As the last song, “Fight Song For The Desalojos” kicked in, Guitarist, Calvin J. Love cut through the crowd with precision as he strummed the chords with a purpose only to be accentuated by the deep blue lights. Overall the entire band became one, telling the stories they had written to a crowd that were salivating to hear them. The only thing that hurt Red Cortez’s performance was it’s set length; just as every one in the room was in tune to the melody, it stopped, and the moment was over leaving everyone with a desire for more.
I give Red Cortez at Maggie Mae’s 4 out of 5
Can’t Help The Writer
Painter of Modern Life
Man In A Bottle
Over The City
Fell On The Floor
Fight Song For The Desalojos
By Ryan Davis