Many bands plug away for years, playing house parties, clubs and smaller halls before they ever reach a stage inside an arena, assuming they even reach such a stage at all. But the South Bay-bred indie-blues-rock group Fritz Montana were fortunate enough to play at Oracle Arena in Oakland—on their fourth show.
This isn’t to say the members of Fritz Montana haven’t earned their success. The group went up against a slew of great local bands in Live 105’s local band contest before pulling in the most votes and nabbing the coveted opening slot for the radio station’s annual Not So Silent Night concert last December.
“It was beyond a dream,” says Fritz Montana bassist Kevin Logan, who recalls how the gravity of the accomplishment didn’t totally sink in until the group showed up at Oracle the day of the show. “The second we stepped into that arena, we started seeing all the techs, the roadies, the sound guy—it was really overwhelming.”
Since last year’s NSSN, Aaron Axelsen, Live 105’s music director, has continued to play Fritz Montana’s tunes on his weekly local and new music show, Soundcheck. When the group recorded some new tracks earlier this year, he put those into regular rotation on his program as well.
The group’s infectious mix of heavy, blues-tinged alt-rock and high-energy pop—a la The Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys—has been earning the band a following, at home and around the country. According to Logan, the NSSN gig served as a springboard to bigger local shows and a seven-show run at this year’s South By Southwest.
For a band that is hardly 2 years old, Fritz Montana are certainly making big waves. That doesn’t come as a surprise to San Jose promoter Barbara Wahli, who caught the group’s very first show at San Jose State University.
“I loved the songs and knew they would resonate well with a large audience,” says Wahli, now Fritz Montana’s manager. “They have so much potential and everyone I contact responds positively to their music. My gut tells me big things will happen for the band.”
So far, Wahli’s predictions appear to be on point. Fritz Montana saw a large turnout at the July 26 release party for their new EP, Scaredy Cat, held at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. And in addition to regular spins from Axelsen, they’ve garnered some positive press. The music blog, Infectious Magazine put Fritz Montana on its “best unsigned bands to watch in 2013,” while another music blog, Lucy Out Loud, featured the band on one of its new music compilations.
“Every show I feel like, we build up a little more momentum,” Logan says. “When we started we did not have a game plan. The experience of playing in front of several thousand people, that got us hungry for bigger shows.”
Fritz Montana play The Blank Club on Oct. 24 at 8pm. More info.