The Bright Light Social Hour with their self-proclaimed “Future South” psychedelic rock band hailing from Austin, TX is back on the road and making their way through Phoenix, AZ at Valley Bar on February 3rd. I had a chance to interview frontman Jack O’Brien about music, politics and all things on the road.
Having released their latest EP project/visual album, Neighbors; a collaboration with Israel Nash, they’re set to up the ante for sounds that can only be explained as “electronic rock blended with Texas charm and total soul”. Nash and TBLSH had previously played sets at the same music festival, had a chance to link up, and then crossed paths once again as they both are based in TX. Conversations turned into testing tunes and out popped a genius 3 song collection.
While Nash will spend time this Spring touring overseas with Band of Horses, TBLSH was invited to tour up the West Coast with Galactic and journey through the American front lines during a sensitive time in history. They spent their last tour couch hopping with fans birthing some really incredible experiences. Jack shared ideology about being exposed to different microcultures state to state and the disparity between wealth and poverty, getting first-hand stories from everyday people in our modern society. The band has never shied away from expressing their opinions and philosophies through their lyrics and often feel compelled to use their art to do just that. Founding members O’Brien and Roush often share conversations about current issues and the unique channel they have to be a voice for the unheard, sparking a new American generation, a revolution of sorts as they speak on behalf of those struggling to make their way.
Sample lyrics from Lupita (Neighbors EP):
Then I changed the way I saw things
It was far from shining true
When the fortune that favors others
Wasn’t made to fortune you
Oh I’ve lost my ways of dreaming
You see my visions have all been used
I can’t know my own tomorrow
In the red the white the bruised
TBLSH is a band that having heard, the listener is transported to a different time and place entirely; half 1960’s psychedelia and half 2060 somewhere in space yet altogether having never lost the roots and rock that grounds their sound….and it’s one helluva trip. Given the opportunity, Jack said that of all the bands from the original psychedelic era, he’d most liked to have collaborated with the Beatles as they had the courage to challenge their audience and have changed the way we now record music. Early Pink Floyd and The Animals were also on the wish list, naturally.
As for their growth and journey in the band’s musical career, their 2015 album Space Is Still The Place(with reference to early musician and philosopher Sun Ra); the question was begged, “What if we could cut ourselves from our past, the cycles that bind us from poverty, difficulty from moving and class immobility?” The band explored this question in their music and it seems eerily relevant as we continue to maneuver through changing times. TBLSH is a listener’s awakening to question the status quo, cyclical beliefs, and the power we each have to recreate our own place in history while eliminating the things that keep people stuck. O’Brien ultimately feels we’re all working towards the same goal, a Utopia without suffering. In the words of an old man he spoke with on a recent trip to Cuba who lived through a dictatorship, “It’s not the government that makes a people, it’s the people who move things forward and make progress”.
In his final thoughts, O’Brien added, “Music is seductive in its message. It starts through your body and you can listen closer if you want and there’s more of a message that gets you thinking. Music for me is what shaped a lot of my views because I was more open to what was going on, it’s served in a way that’s more palatable.” Agreed Jack, we’ll take seconds.
Don’t miss The Bright Light Social Hour, get tickets here!