Last night I decided to check out the closest thing to a local band South by Southwest has to offer those from Southern Arizona.
Hailing from the Mexico side of Nogales, Lights on Ceres is a three-piece band self-described as “space wave,” which must be in reference to their heavy use of electronic components and voice effects.
Comprised of 28-year-old Alberto Espinosa on lead vocals and guitar; drummer Roberto Garcia, 32; and Jorge Pablo Zarate, 26, on keyboard and backup vocals, Lights on Ceres offers a fresh sound with a solid beat.
Their music feels like something out of a 80’s night club with an updated style for the 21st century. The blend of throwback and fresh sounds makes for a set you can’t help but swing your hips to.
Espinosa’s experience stood out as he manipulated his voice to hit the effects just the right way, and Garcia’s affinity for the drums held up the backbone for each song as Zarate threw in the details for the full experience.
The band played an eight-song set with a few songs off their EP, Space Waves: “Moon Dance,” “Show me Love” and “Fly,” but most of the set was new compositions written since the release of the EP (recorded in Phoenix) last year.
Zarate said the SXSW show was a pretty big deal for the band as they drove 16 hours in a rented pickup just to stay in town for the night.
Lights on Ceres should have no trouble getting off the ground on their own merit, but Espinosa’s previous notoriety from Nikki Clan, which had a decent following in Mexico, along with Grammy-winning Gardner Cole, who has written songs for Cher, Tina Turner and Madonna, acting as producer, it should be no time at all before you start seeing these guys around.
The show at SXSW marks their fifth live gig together and the band hopes to make an appearance at Tucson’s Hotel Congress or The Rialto in the near future, so keep an eye out.
You can head to their website or check out their music on Spotify and Facebook.