I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I embarked on this, my first ever music journalism assignment. What I found was a tightly knit community at a venue called Barracuda. Five acts played out the evening. The last of them was Nominee, a long time established group in Austin’s pop punk community.
The vibe in the room was palpable, and every act brought a different flavor of their most angsty and indignant anthems. I was reminded of all the Anberlin, Rise Against, and My Chemical Romance I listened to while driving my sister to her violin lessons on particularly begrudging days.
I wondered how Nominee would sustain the energy at 11:30PM following Keep Flying’s ballsy brass section. The lead singer started by thanking everyone who had traveled near and far to be there, and it was then that I realized the scope and long history of this family. They launched into their first song, and they proceeded to deliver every track thereafter at anthem level.
Their energy was amplified by the crowd who erupted into mosh pits as songs reached their peaks. Other bands’ crowds were more transient, but Nominee had everyone pressed to the stage. Before the set closed, they implored the audience to support any of their friends who were in bands. They mentioned that the faces they saw in the crowd were the same ones that came out to their very first concerts.
As a musician myself, I thought this was such a profound statement. It made me hopeful that if someday I get to open for larger bands that the same fans I’ve made will still be there with me. You could really sense that all these acts provided support for one another. The night closed with an epic mosh and a whole crowd of friends, family, and fans chanting the last words of the final song together with their hands raised.
As I left Barracuda, I was exhausted but felt fortunate to have been a part of this experience. I drove home, plopped into bed, and woke up mostly clothed with a familiar ringing in my ears. My days of pop punk listening are all but recent but as I geared up for my morning run, there was only one logical listening choice to get my energy up. I pulled up “Stay” by Nominee and got moving.