Take the Fire Escape From Summer

  • 15 years ago today
  • Sense Field
  • Texas is the Reason
  • Fully

The emo explosion was in full swing, and following the break-up of both Quicksand and Sunny Day Real Estate, it seemed that there were hundreds of bands primed to take the reigns atop a growing nationwide movement. In 1996, Sense Field and Texas is the Reason were definitely two bands that looked ready for bigger things. It was before emo became a dirty word, and you just knew that the major labels were about to pounce on labels like revelation and jade tree. Now, it has become a fashion statement, but in the late 90's, emo as a musical style was still vibrant and somewhat unadulterated. 

Starting the night was Fully, a band fronted by Quicksand bassist, Sergio Vega.  Following the demise of Quicksand, as Walter struggled to get World's Fastest Car off the ground, and Tom and Alan joined Handsome and Seaweed respectively, Sergio was the first from the band to start his own new project. Switching from bass to guitar, Vega's Fully rocked through a set of post-hardcore tunes from their only release, a split cd with another short-lived NY band, Lady Luck , which featured Roger Miret of Agnostic Front on bass with his wife providing the vocals. While Fully packed plenty of punch, they were actually way more catchy than Quicksand ever were, hinting at Foo Fighter-esque power-pop at times and Living Colour radio rock at others. While not ground-breaking, the band was very solid and filled with potential. Looking back, I really think they were very under-appreciated and I wish Sergio had done more with this project and with his songwriting as a whole.  He followed Fully up with a solo ep, the even poppier and more accomplished 'Ray Martin Sessions' on the GrapeOS label and then disappeared until quietly resurfacing as interim bassist for The Deftones.

Texas is the Reason -  Live@ CBGBs - 1995
Texas is the Reason followed. They were in the middle of a huge tour, supporting Samiam overseas, and now Sense Field across the U.S. They came in at the top of their game, with their only lp, 'Do You Know Who You Are?', as well as a split 7" with The Promise Ring having both been released earlier that year. They were a band I rarely missed live, mainly because I don't feel their recordings, aside from The Promise Ring split did them any justice. I seldomly listen to them anymore, but I still hold them in high regard as one of the best live bands I've ever seen.

Like I said earlier, in 1995-96, Quicksand and SDRE were really the two pillars of the emo/post-hardcore/indie whatever you want to call it scene. It seemed like every upstart band of the genre was trying to blend the two in some way shape or form, and much like Clapton did twenty years earlier with blues and psychedelic rock, Texas is the Reason came along and did it with ease, making countless bands suddenly seem amateurish. 

Here's a clip I found on youtube when they played with Sense Field and Dahlia Seed earlier in '96 at Brownies, also a fantastic show.


Finally came the headliners, Sense Field. They, along with Texas is the Reason were getting loads of major label attention upon the release of 'Building', their final release for Revelation Records. And, while TITR's eventual signing ended up breaking up the band, Sense Field wound up signing with Warner Brothers, only to watch their album sit on the shelf for years while the label never put it out, eventually freeing them of their contract.  Between the delays, drummer Scott McPherson left to play with Elliott Smith. They continued to tour and released a few more albums, but they were never able to regain the buzz and intensity they had in '96.  

In retrospect, there are a few things that stand out when looking back on this show. I saw both Sense Field and Texas is the Reason so many times that year that I couldn't tell you much about setlists and such. One thing I can tell you is that Cherokee Parks, fresh off his rookie year in the NBA was there. I was surprised to see upon looking him up that his sister was the original bass player for Nashville Pussy. I did not know that. I felt bad for the people standing behind him. Which leads me to my next point. I remember not being able to find a comfortable spot to watch the show from. I never enjoyed Wetlands. I've never liked venues that are wider than thay are deep, and there always seemed to be a pole in the way, especially if you were near the bar. My recollection of Fully's set is the most vivid. I only got to see them once, (not sure how many shows they even played) and it was still very empty when they first went on, so I got right up front. I guess getting up front and staying there was the name of the game at Wetlands. I saw only a handful of other shows there for those reasons, with Avail and Propagandhi in 2001 being the only other one I really enjoyed.

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