Earlier this year, Fort Worth saw two of its biggest bands, Flickerstick and Black Tie Dynasty, call it quits. Yes, both acts are from the same city and each has a very large fan base. There is, however, a more significant common thread between these two bands. Both Flickerstick and BTD had the ability to reach out to a more mainstream crowd while still having a unique enough sound to appeal to a more indie rock crowd. That has always been a difficult act to pull off, but both bands were successful at doing just that. That begs the question: now that Flickerstick and Black Tie Dynasty are no more, who has the potential to fill in their footsteps?
To me, Stella Rose seems like the most likely successor to the throne. When the band played with Flickerstick on their final show, it was apparent to me that Stella Rose has the talent to become one of the biggest bands in Fort Worth, as well as the surrounding areas. The bands sound does share some definite similarities with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Lead vocalist Stephen Beatty sounds slightly like Peter Hayes, particularly on "Makin' It Easy", the opening track of Nine Caged Tigers, and "Fall Apart" definitely sounds like it could have been an album cut from Howl.
Stella Rose, however, incorporates a harder edge in many of their songs than do BRMC. Much of this can be attributed to Matthew Mabe's fierce skills on the drums. Mr. Mabe's skill is most noticeably fierce in the live shows. Ladies, take note: he often gets so hot in the live sets that he takes his shirt off. The band's energy is far more visible in their live set, where even the mellower songs have an added edge to their sound. The band draws a large following in their hometown of Fort Worth. I couldn't help but notice that it seemed the majority of the audience at Flickerstick's final show knew the words to most of the Stella Rose songs and were singing along. When an audience is that pumped for an opening band at another band's swan show, that's saying something.
My only beef with Stella Rose is that they spent TOO much time in Fort Worth. Some Dallas shows would be nice. In the meantime, they will be playing at The Moon in Fort Worth this Saturday night, along with Little Black Dress and RTB2. This is one of the best lineups I've seen in Funkytown all year, and Fort Worth residents would be smart to check this out. Heck, Dallas and Denton people would be smart to make a small road trip.
Oh, and while you're at it, you can vote for Stella Rose in the Fort Worth Weekly music awards, where they're nominated for Best Hard Rock.