Texas is the Reason at D.C.'s Black Cat

Post-hardcore legends Texas is the Reason bring their long awaited reunion tour to the Black Cat in Washington. Photo: Texas is the Reason

WASHINGTON, March, 7, 2013 — In the grand scheme of things, when compared to their immediate contemporaries, Texas is the Reason wasn’t around for very long. In the four years they existed a band, they released an EP, one full-length album, and came up with roughly 15 songs in total during that span of time.

In fact, they’ve been broken up almost four times as long as the time they existed as an actual band. This makes their recent ability to sell out the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. some 15 years after their initial breakup quite simply amazing, serving as a testament to their influence and legacy as a band.

Texas is the Reason’s story goes something like this: The band released a critically acclaimed full-length album,Do You Know Who You Are?, in 1996. In the following year, major labels had begun snatching up rock bands that weren’t grunge while looking for the next big thing. Texas is the Reason were tapped as one of those bands. But just when they were on the verge of signing with a major label and banking on that promise, they broke up.

They had one minor reunion back in 2006, playing a show in New York. This time around, though, their current reunion has been accorded a much bigger impact, given that the band is performing out of their original habitats, like DC. This specific reunion tour also coincided with the release of their full length album which gathered together the band’s entire discography, including two previously unrecorded songs, “Every Little Girl’s Dream” and “When Rock ‘N’ Roll Was Just a Baby,” both of which were supposed to have ended up on the band’s theoretical second album.

Every year since the band’s breakup, considering how much hype was surrounding them initially, their reputation continued to grow. That was especially true since for several years, the likelihood of a tour of even this size was unlikely. Of course, as with so many other things, time changes circumstances a lot. Eventually, the members reconnected and got to a place where they felt comfortable playing as a unit again.

It’s hard to say whether there’s a lot riding on these string of shows for Texas is the Reason, aside from maybe establishing for once and all their lasting reputation along with their own sense of self-worth and pride. If they do play together again after this tour, it’ll probably be sometime down the road, as it doesn’t appear that anyone in the band currently has the intention of making this even a semi-regular thing. This isn’t to say it isn’t important to them. Certainly, it was especially important to everyone in the audience who was there to witness the show at the Black Cat in any case.

A good number of people in attendance were likely not old enough to have caught Texas is the Reason the last time they toured in the states. For that reason, their connection to the band relies solely on the strength of Do You Know Who You Are? Texas happens to be one of the few bands that actually fit both the post-hardcore and emo label before both genre signifiers started being thrown around with much thought to integrity. And that’s one of the reasons why they became influential in the first place.

Each member of the band has his New York hardcore scene. But while the band’s sound has hardcore elements, specifically on a song like “Back and to the Left,” it takes a finely tuned ear to pick up on those elements most of the time. Instead the band plays up a variation of the DC emo sound dating from the ‘80s.

That sound hinges on finding the middle ground between playing up-tempo while remaining focused enough technically to bring out the softer elements. What Texas does is combine the urgency often found in punk and hardcore, while simultaneously reaching different emotive heights that aren’t typically seen, heard or felt in aggressive genres. That is essentially what emo is, and it’s what Texas is the Reason is all about as well as anyone performing out there today.

Still the only question that really mattered going into their set was whether they’d be able to hold a candle today to the reputation they’d built up over the years. One of things working in Texas’ favor in this regard is the simple fact that they don’t have a lot of repertoire to work through. 

There’s only one version of Texas is the Reason. They never moved through several different incarnations where they tried to change their sound or band members. The quartet and the sound the audience heard at the Black Cat has remained definitively Texas is the Reason.

As a result, when they moved through their set at this venue, it was almost like being caught in a time warp. They didn’t play every song, but every song they played hit the sweet spots perfectly. In addition, Garrett Klahn’s vocals, one of the band’s more distinctive elements, were as uniquely emotive and quirkily high-pitched as they’ve always has been. Even their two recently recorded songs meshed effortlessly with the more time-honored favorites in Texas’ catalog.

There’s always the fear that a much-loved band from the past will show up a decade later and disappoint, having become a shell of their former selves. However, the outcome shouldn’t have been in doubt when it came to the re-incarnation of Texas is the Reason.

Throughout the entire night, the band members showed their appreciation to everyone in the crowd, readily leading to the belief there was no way these four would have gone out on tour again without knowing their show would likely meet some lofty standards. Texas is the Reason is a band that just keeps adding to their own legend wherever and whenever they appear.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer.  He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years.  Currently he lives in Vienna, VA.   He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

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