Indie rock bands steal the show at Diadeloso

Lead singer and bassist of fooligan performing at Diadeloso Tuesday. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer

Gusts of wind howled across campus all day during this year’s Dia del Oso festival, but even Mother Nature couldn’t out-sing the artists and bands that performed onstage.

As bands like fooligan, Hunter Cox & The Big League Boys, sack lunch!, Montclair and Rococo Disco projected out into Fountain Mall, the ears of those in the crowd were met with colorful rock and indie tunes. Not far off, more music sounded at the SUB Bowl stage, hosting bands and artists like SUNNN, Braden Black, Secondhand Son and Brother Boy.

Fooligan, a four-man (and one woman) band local to Waco, served a good mix of intense indie rock and drowsy indie R&B during their time on the Fountain Mall stage. They kicked off the show at noon with their song “Video Store,” a headbanging rock tune that had welcomed the audience with its lyrics, “Thank you for coming!”

The spirit of the band was lively, with lead singer Michael Thorton dancing freely back and forth across the stage throughout the performance, almost as if the audience were being allowed a peek into one of the band’s private jam sessions. According to drummer Jonathan Rich, the performace was “freakin’ rad.”

“This is definitely the biggest audience we’ve played for and it’s just awesome,” Thorton said. “We got to have fun and lots of space on the stage to move around.”

Fooligan’s songs proved to be creative and wacky, using story concepts such as “an alien who is disguised as a teenage boy going to prom” or “a telemarketer proclaiming his love for his customer” as the storyline for one of their newer songs, “Hello Donald.”

Before beginning their daunting hit “All Mine,” Thorton nonchalantly announced to the audience that the inspiration for the song was about being buried alive. Afterwards, the group calmed it down with their slow and easy song “Phoebe,” a song which allowed the guitar to cry and mirrored Thorton’s bluesy cries of “Come back to me.”

After the sorrowful “Phoebe,” fooligan flipped the comedy switch and performed “Waiting on Richie,” a song simply about how much the band loves their bassist, Richie Del Cristo. Thorton said to the audience that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a point where Del Cristo thought he had caught the virus and had isolated from the group while awaiting his test results. During that time, the band realized how much life he brought to the band, Thorton said.

The tune proved to be more of an act than a song, with Thorton comically interrupting during the bridge pretending dramatically to search for Del Cristo, asking “Where you at bro?” Drummer Jonathan Rich said this song was his favorite to perform since he was the one to write the drumming.

Of their songs played, Thorton said his favorite was “Wrong Scent,” a track not yet released on their Spotify.

“It’s got a different flavor than the other songs, real groovy,” Thorton said.

Afterwards came “Captain,” filled with reeling guitar and piano riffs reminiscent of something that would be played as background music for a montage during an early 2000s coming of age film. It was easy to be fooled by this upbeat beginning, as the second half of the song transformed into something of the goth rock genre.

As SUNNN began playing at the SUB Bowl, the next to take the stage at Fountain Mall was Hunter Cox and the Big League Boys, a band originating from Fort Worth, Texas. The lead vocalist, Hunter Cox, said he labels the band as ‘folk rock,’ with old-time country, “singer-songwriter americana stuff” and rock at the foundation of their songs.

“I grew up on really old-time classic country music, and I was in rodeo when I was young,” Cox said. “But we have a whole plethora of other influences, and I really love loud rock music and I was also a metal-head after I got out of my rodeo phase.”

Cox said one of the band’s favorites to perform was “Door Frames,” a song with gritty guitar and a drawl that had couples in the audience two-stepping in front of the stage. Cox, who doubles as a guitarist, must have played too hard because he sent a string flying from the pegs toward the ending of the song.

“I think I broke my string on that one,” Cox said, chuckling slightly.

As he continued to tune his guitar mid-song, the rest of the band carried on, allowing the other guitar, bass, pedal steel and drums their time to shine.

Nearing the end of their time on stage, the band wowed the crowd with another one of their favorites, “Waste My Time.” The guitar solos that screamed, cried and trilled throughout the track sent full-body vibrations through anyone who stood near the stage.

The wind blew extra strong during the band’s last song, as if to give Hunter Cox and the Big League Boys a grand send-off.