DSA-powered music at Studio B

Another month, another four-band show brought me back to Studio B. On top of music, there were politics at play as well. This show was sponsored by the local Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA chapter, with all of the artists that night showing solidarity for Palestine in the midst of its ongoing conflict with Israel. Not only were there artists meeting under a cause I support, but there were a number of newer musicians performing as well. Thus, with an interest in hearing new sounds, I made my way downtown to 1609 Agnes to shoot another show.


It started on a light note with the debut of Bribba, a Del Mar student with an ear for music. Her first performance consisted of a short solo set with an acoustic guitar in hand, spinning tales of heartbreak in classic singer-songwriter fashion.

From the beginning, I knew that I was going to enjoy her set. Minimal compositions were sweetly sung through a fine-tuned voice and a pretty guitar. Occasionally I sensed a flash of nerves, though there’s nothing wrong with being a little worried on a debut performance. First impressions can leave quite the mark, and given everything I heard, I walked away with a good first impression of Bribba.

Speaking further of her sound, it wasn’t a complete fit with the other artists, but that wasn’t a problem whatsoever. Rather, I’m glad to see artists with coffee shop stylings be platformed alongside hard-nose rock bands. It’s a tough match to make, but luckily everything worked out. I wish her the best in her future music endeavors.

Deep Blue

After Bribba finished her set, a local alternative rock outfit called Deep Blue took the stage. A four-piece band, they took on a sound more akin to the artists you’d be hearing at these four-band bills. Having formed in early 2023, this band was also a relatively new act compared to everyone else.

Don’t let their being new fool you though, these guys are solid! Musically, they were tight and consistent, with a confident air permeating through their set. Deep Blue’s original, brooding 90s-tinged material was met with Smiths and My Chemical Romance covers, pairings that made greater sense to me once I heard it live. The band knew recovery well, as a flubbed drum take courtesy of Cristopher Rodriguez during their closing cover of Arctic Monkeys’ “505” was swiftly forgotten when frontman Nathaniel Reyna soared through its conclusion.

They played with a frantic energy, a tendency to move that I appreciate. These concerts aren’t just recitals, they’re performances, and from the start it was clear that Deep Blue understood that. Not only did they know how to perform, but they also knew how to talk to an audience as well. There were some hecklers calling for Reyna to take off his shirt, a demand he ultimately caved in to after several songs.

I didn’t exactly know what to expect with this newer band’s sound, but I ultimately came away with hope for this well-rounded act. They can play practically any speed and meet any song they performed with the required flash, powering through a song if any hiccups presented themselves.

Animal Mood

To me, this band needs no further introduction. For those that are unfamiliar, Animal Mood is a four-piece indie/garage rock group hailing from Corpus. Their music has a flair for the vintage, and their performance has a flair for the frantic. Whether it be frontman Jose Del Toro’s dancing mid-break or guitarist Ryan Rodriguez’s tendency to pace and jump around on stage, it’s impossible to stand still when they’re playing.

It was still impossible to stand still during this show as well, as the band muscled through a variety of original songs with all the usual energy they provide. Their music has begun to take on a new sound, though, as the introduction of effects and tendency towards pounding breaks mid-song would suggest. On top of that, I’m beginning to hear an air of outright dance-ability in the new material as well.

Just like last time as well, the audience lapped up the band’s performance. There wasn’t a lot of stillness in the crowd, though if you ask me, it was fine not getting crushed by a mosh pit with a camera in hand this time around. Overall, I’m still enjoying their music and can’t wait to hear what’ll be next from this act.

Up Dog

The final act of the night, Up Dog’s music is self-described as “emo/ska,” a term that I find very fitting after hearing them live. Combining Midwest emo tonality with ska sensibility, their Friday set showed me the machinations of a well-oiled machine. Despite the setbacks inside the band, including two of the five members falling ill in the time preceding the show, determination reared its head and the show went off without a hitch.

Performing snippets of their extensive discography, I was excited to take in a new form of music that I hadn’t heard much of before. Frontman Cody Benavides’ halfway-hollering vocals pierced all previous expectations, and it blended well with bassist Jeremy Melendez’s solid delivery (ironically enough, these two were the sick members). The intricate guitar interplay between Benavides and fellow guitarist Tuna Barrera was a welcome surprise, and having it all sandwiched between Burger’s trombone made for a splendid package.

Their crowd work was rather exceptional, a la Deep Blue. Benavides brought the audience out with his requests, having them join in certain shouts. That’s not to mention Burger’s parade through the audience on a couple occasions, with them even encouraging members to shove them around. Sure enough, Burger was indeed met with audience members putting them into the chaos, granted the trombone didn’t pose a threat. With these and more, I saw people genuinely having fun, elevating them above mere musicians in a performance. It was a full-on show, and I was here for it.

I’ll keep an eye out for Up Dog as best as I can. They’ve shown me a sound that I’ve been needing to brush up on, and now I’ve got the encouragement to keep it going for future reference. Hopefully there’s other acts in a similar horns-twinged vein like them for me look for, because I’ve now got a trombone-shaped hole in my head thanks to Up Dog.

I walked away from this show with new knowledge of the Corpus scene. New artists are coming out of the woodworks, and I’m so glad that I had the chance to see a fraction of them on the Friday night show. Bribba brought out the feeling, Deep Blue brought out the tonality, Animal Mood brought the energy, and Up Dog put a cap on the night by bringing out the madness. I’ll be waiting for the next show with a roster as strong as this, though I fear it may be some time before then.

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