On Friday, more than 100 attendees filed into MASS to watch a stacked lineup and got more than their 10 dollars’ worth. Halfway through an absolutely blistering set by The Straits, MASS was shaking, causing glasses to vibrate on the bar like the venue was being rattled by an earthquake.
The concert began with a dreamy indie-tronica set by Shannon and Jonathan Camacho, the husband-wife duo better known as Hello Shannon. Within the first few notes of the down-tempo “Pressure,” the audience fell silent, instantly pulled into the performance by Shannon’s pure soprano tones and perfect vocal pitch. Jonathan wove dreamy sounds on his synthesizers as the duo worked their way through songs from 2018’s Wander, the title track of which they mashed up with an outstanding cover of Tears for Fear’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Shannon’s voice sailed across an enraptured room, backed by precise percussion and synth rhythms. After each song, there was a moment of silence before the audience burst into cheers, as if they needed just a moment to allow what they’d witnessed to sink in. The Camachos’ set wrapped up with “Bluebird,” a haunting and melodramatic tune that left the audience wanting more. Beaming after their well-received performance, Fort Worth native Shannon gushed, “We love this venue. It was so great, one of our favorite shows we’ve played to date.”
Next up were Fort Worth indie-rockers The Straits, who brought an entourage that included extended family, friends, and a baby. By the time the quintet hit the stage, the venue was packed, and the love in the room was readily apparent. In contrast to the synth sounds of Hello Shannon, The Straits delivered a high-powered set that literally shook the venue and sent audience members digging for their earplugs. Drummer Connor Stubbs pounded away with abandon, laying the foundation for Luis Lopez’s snarling guitar and Celestial L’amour’s powerful vocals. The band previewed songs from their upcoming album, including the earnest ballad “Rock Paper Scissors.” The set peaked with a stirring performance of their newest song, “Left Behind,” which featured an a cappella vocal bridge that silenced the room, if only momentarily. L’amour and Lopez brought their baby onstage for the metal-infused single “Crowns,” a performance that had the audience bouncing along with the shaking barware.
Following the Straits was Fort Worth post-rock outfit Driving Slow Motion. The opening notes of “Laurelin” struck a lush, moody tone that evoked the best of this instrumental genre. Post-rock is about creating soundscapes that allow the listener to attach their emotions to the music, and DSM received international acclaim for 2019’s superb album Arda. The five-piece built each song with precision, with three layers of guitars ebbing and flowing over the rhythms of bassist Carter Stark and drummer Dustin Weaver. The 35-minute set pushed and pulled, striking a dynamic balance between the softness of the verses and a thundering wall of sound created by the guitarists. As the band moved through its songs, the venue began to rattle again. The guys closed the set with a deafening performance of their next single, “Hallowed Hills,” for which a video was filmed that evening. Lead guitarist Bryan Freymuth expressed a deep gratitude to the community for showing up.
“I was genuinely blown away by the goodness in all the bands’ hearts, and I loved that we all supported each other,” he told me. “It was a huge statement of bands that exist in harmony.”
Closing the evening were headliners Ting Tang Tina. Fortunately, most of the audience stuck around long enough to be treated to songs off their upcoming Dreamy Life release, Honeybee. The Fort Worth-based quartet delivered a high-energy set that was flawlessly executed. Old favorites such as the sweetly morose “Emo Teen Luv” from the Love Is Trippy EP made an appearance, and frontwoman Ruby Lewis has never sounded more confident in her delivery. Their pop-punk roots were on display as the young band with X’s on their hands laid down grungy guitar cadences and staccato beats. Their subversive brand of Gen-Z humor was on display as they jokingly interacted with the audience between songs. Some of their new material established that Ting Tang Tina has evolved beyond the three-chord progression formula. The new material featured lovely vocal harmonies and complex structures that demonstrated that they’ve grown significantly since their last release.
Despite the wildly contrasting sounds of each act, the lineup flowed together in harmony. A communal feeling permeated the room. The bands treated one another like family, creating a vibe that was welcoming to and supportive of every artist. The booking team at MASS brought different genres together and exposed new bands to fresh ears. The socials lit up with pictures, videos, and positive feedback during and after the show, and each band walked away with new fans and follows after an incredible evening. And considering MASS was open the next day, it’s safe to say they’ve recovered from that earthquake.