Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
As 2012 comes to a close, local rock outfit Neil to Aldrin is celebrating a first with a special concert this weekend.
Neil to Aldrin will perform an all ages showcase at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at The Gig on Crockett Street in Beaumont. Admission is $5 for ages 21 and older and $7 for ages 20 and under. Ages 17 and younger are admitted but should be escorted by a parent or guardian.
The band, featuring Jay Espinoza, vocals and guitar; Jess Espinoza, drums; Andrew McCabe, guitar; and Josh Herron, bass, is celebrating the release of its new EP, "Of Ashes We Rose." Joining the band are special guests Eviscerate the Proletariat, Brompton, and Lee Pelly and Bill Bloss of Knuckle Deep who will perform an acoustic set to open the show.
Vocalist and guitarist Jay Espinoza wants the show to be as big as possible, and with most of the band members being age 19 and younger, it was a simple choice to do the show on Sunday at The Gig.
"We decided to do a Sunday show because it's the only day minors can attend an event at The Gig," Espinoza explained. "We're starting the show at six o'clock so it'll end at a decent hour for those that have work or school the next morning."
The past year has seen the band's popularity soar, even following the departure of bassist John Cunningham earlier this year and a brief hiatus in the summer following drummer Jess Espinoza's health related issues. Espinoza feels the difficulties faced by the group have only helped make it stronger.
"Yes, 2012 has been nothing less than rough to say the very least," he added with a laugh. "But the line-up change has done nothing but give us more confidence in the band. We are extremely lucky to have found Josh, cause, if we didn't, someone else would've picked him up for sure. As far as health issues with Jess, it was tough on everyone as a family to see him go through being diagnosed with Diabetes, but he kept a strong mindset, and never missed a beat - literally. He's doing awesome and hasn't let it slow him down."
The new five-song EP, "Of Ashes We Rose," definitely has a deep meaning for the band as it signifies a rebirth, like the proverbial phoenix.
"We took everything that we built before the record and just burned it down, so to speak," Espinoza explained. "All of the material, all of the ideas, even the name we were under, we just did away with it all.
"The 'ashes' are everything we did away with, and by 'rising' we're referring to how far we've come in only a year of being a band," he continued. "This EP is the result of us finding what direction we want to take as a band. It literally was just an experiment. Luckily, we have found ourselves as a band and the direction we're taking."
Espinoza said it is tough to pick just one song as his favorite from the new CD, but he stated the band loves performing "Eric Foreman's Basement" because it has "a little bit of everyone's style in the song." He also said another crowd pleaser is "Goodnight, Seattle" which is a song written "for those that have lost someone they truly care about due to alchohol or drug abuse."
As 2012 comes to a close, Neil to Aldrin is only beginning to scratch the surface of what it takes to be a band and what direction it will take in 2013.
"We're coming back with a new image and a new attitude," Espinoza said of 2013. "We will be releasing a full-length record (tentatively titled "Wake Me When I'm Famous") and we plan on doing a few small tours, staying busy as far as writing and playing outside of Southeast Texas. We're ready to move on to bigger and better things, and reach out to even more people."
For more information on the band or it's show on Sunday, find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/neil.toaldrin