Bright Light Social Hour’s sound a work in progress
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 10:47
Curtis Roush of Bright Light Social on guitar and vocals during a performance at Grounds for Thought. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The well-traveled rockers Bright Light Social Hour are hoping for a better Friday night forecast at this year’s Black swamp Arts Festival.
Last year when they were scheduled to close the Friday night show, a thunderstorm short-circuited the show. Their visit wasn’t a total washout. They played an after-hours show the next night at Howard’s Club H.
Still Bright Light social Hour, officially Austin, Texas-based though their real home of late has been the band’s van, hopes to get on stage Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. to deliver some thunder of its own.
The band — guitarist Curtis Roush, bassist Jack O’Brien on bass, keyboard player A.J. Vincent and drummer Joseph Mirasole — certainly has demonstrated its power to rock in hyperkinetic form with elements of prog rock, techno and other styles over a rock-solid groove.
Still the band, just a few years old, has continued to evolve, said Jack O’Brien in a recent telephone interview.
“The music is still very rock based,” he said, “but it’s certainly darker and more hypnotic and more groove oriented. We started to incorporate more drum machines and synth, electronics, but still in a gritty rock context.”
And the band has been working that new material into their sets. That leaves some fans requesting “more of the old stuff.”
“We’re not interested in doing more of the same,” O’Brien said. “We have a record and that’s well documented.”
Beside “the old music doesn’t speak to where we’re at.”
Not that they completely ignore the old favorites, sometimes even reinventing them so they flow more with the new songs.
The song “Back and Forth” from 2009 has been revamped “to give it more of a dreamy feel. That totally revived the song for us.”
The new sounds have been documented on a new recording that’s in the final stages of production. Instead of hiring a producer, the band decided to do the job themselves and instead invest the money in the equipment they would need.
Last year the band described its collective process for creating new songs. Everybody brings in bits that the band shapes into a musical whole. Lyrics are created the same way. One band member is then charged with pulling together a draft that the others polish workshop style.
Bright Light Social Hour has always been a work in progress with its music reflecting the shifting musical obsessions of its members.
It traces its roots to house in Austin where founder Roush lived. The house had all the amenities needed for hard-rocking jamming, and the  hard-rocking partying afterward.
That party feeling persists in the music that as demonstrated last year when they played a pre-festival show at Grounds for Thought. That gig ended with the band in full shaggy-mane-shaking, drum-flailing, guitar thrashing mode.
O’Brien said the festival is a perfect fit for Bright Light Social Hour. “We loved it,” he said. “I love any sort of free festival in a city. It really brings the community out.”
And if people are ready to party, Bright Light Social Hour is more than happy to bring the music.

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