Report: The First Night of The First Round of The 2011 Shiner Rising Star Competition
Love & War in Texas in Plano
July 28, 2011
So here we are: another year, another opening night for the annual Shiner Rising Star competition.
As is always the case with this contest, the last band standing will win a recording contract with Shiner Records, among many other enviable prizes.
Next up to perform in front of the crowded patio audience that easily counted over 200 attendees, Sidekick Mafia, also from Dallas, proffered a highly enjoyable brand of oftentimes frenetic rockabilly. Kicking off their set with an electrified Woody Guthrie tune, the trio was able to switch styles effectively, yet managed to avoid a schizophrenic feel. Even their more straight-forward rock numbers reminded one more of a Texas-bred Replacements than they did simple rehashes of Cross Canadian Ragweed or Eli Young Band. Sporting long hair and all kinds of ink, Sidekick Mafia's look was as varied as their sound was, even though it all melded together seamlessly for the sweltering evening's strongest set by a pretty good margin.
Closing the contest's first night out in-style, Shiner Rising Star vet Andrew Delaney and a re-worked Horse You Rode In On attempted to best their set from last year's first round where they were narrowly defeated by the Robert Donahue Band. And, in all actuality, the band did improve upon even that enjoyable set from last year: Delaney's writing has continued to grow and his stature as a storyteller should be as large as any of the younger performers in the north Texas country scene at this point. Unfortunately for Delaney and crew, their effective performance came immediately after Sidekick Mafia's stage-burning act, rendering Delaney's time on stage a tad anti-climactic. As was the case with last year, it wasn't Delaney's gifts as a performer that let him down in any way, but the specific bill he was included in that sank his ship for this year.
Had this show simply been a triple-bill of young and immensely promising Dallas country bands, it would've been a rousing success on those grounds alone.
In the end, Sidekick Mafia was chosen by the judges as the winner (by a respectable margin) and earned chance to get even closer to the prized record deal.