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On their linktr.ee, Drunk Uncle claims they are ‘the Steely Dan of emo.’ Respectfully, I beg to differ. Their sound is more like what would happen if Knuckle Puck had a love child with Tiny Moving Parts, and I mean that in the best possible way. 

The night I first saw Drunk Uncle perform, I had no intention of seeing them, let alone liking them. I had a wedding to attend earlier in the evening, and my boyfriend wanted to see his friends perform at Ojeman the same night. So we compromised, leaving the wedding early and arriving at Ojeman late. 

I sat at a sticky table with a glass of rum and my friends (some of which were members of Coy, a new band that had taken the stage earlier in the evening), preparing to smile politely for a set before getting up to refill my drink. Instead, I found one of my eyebrows twitching in pleasant surprise. 

Photo by Keagan Friend

Based in Austin, Texas, the band has strong local ties, with founding members hailing from La Porte. Drunk Uncle consists of Peyton Heining on vocals and guitar, Jake Rhodes on drums, Will Gore on bass, and Tyler Miller (not present that night) on guitar. Off stage and alone, they look like any other guys. But together under the lights, they have the type of chemistry only real friends can project. 

The band opened with Hyde on 35, a song whose opening chords were reminiscent of Always Focused, but significantly more melancholy. The band was tight, staying on subject and not slugging through any part of the song, a mistake many newer bands often make. 

Photo by Keagan Friend

They continued through their set with the same energy, clearly enjoying their time on stage and feeding off the joy in the crowd. Many of those in attendance were friends of the band, but enough were hearing the band for the first time that the reactions were authentic. 

The night closed with Alright… What Now?, starting with some fun chords, bouncy drums, and punching vocals before cascading into the meat of the song. By now, the sound of people standing around the stage had greatly increased. They were present, not a phone to be seen, only people jumping and dancing along, not yet sure if the culture around the band was that of a mosh or a dance, not yet sure if the band had a culture. The song closed with an epic outro, climbing in notes and noise over a fuzzy spoken-word part and laser effects. 

Photo by Keagan Friend

Drunk Uncle is mournful with the energy only post hardcore can bring.They produce the type of music and confessional lyrics that makes me want to scream along. 

Recently signed to Count Your Lucky Stars Records with only a little north of 500 followers on their Instagram, an outsider looking in may wonder why. 

Well, let me be the first to tell you that the age and size of the band is no signifier of the hours of individual work and training that has gone into the final product. Any label with a good ear and a desire to make a band would be crazy to pass these boys up. 

Their music is tight, clean, and clearly has an excellent lyricist in their midst, penning tracks that will fit easily into the same playlists as your favorite modern emo/ post-punk bands. And hey, who knows, maybe you’ll see Drunk Uncle touring with them someday soon.

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