Tomar and the FCs bring rock and soul to Texas.
Tomar and the FCs, an Austin-based soul band debuted their new album “Rise Above” February 1st at the storied downtown Austin nightclub, Antone’s. The ‘Rise Above’ album release party kicked off with a tribute to Stax Records featuring performances by Kevin Russell (Shinyribs), The Watters, Sheree Smith, Soul Man Sam and Courtney Santana.
Hailing from the Music Capital of the World, Tomar Williams, Andy Tenberg, David Earl, Mitch Fiscels and Paul Kresowik are no strangers when it comes to creating memorable tunes for the world stage. The Austin natives released their first album “Heart Attack” in 2016 and have continued to dominate ever since. The release of the band’s anticipated sophomore album is bound to put them even more on the map.
Anticipation and excitement filled the air as eager fans arrived early to find the best spot in the cozy candle-lit atmosphere. Tomar Williams, the vocals of the soul band, started the show by expressing the depth of love he feels for his supporters. “I don’t call you all fans, I call you all fam.” He followed up with, “Can we shine a light on you all tonight?” to loud cheers from the crowd.
An obvious standout hit was the title track “Rise Above,” which started off with a slower softer melody compared to some of the other songs on the album. With lyrics like “ We go’n rise above,” the uplifting track embodies unity. And the diverse crowd certainly felt unified, as they sang along with the band, danced and captured moments with their mobile devices. Their first released single, “Innocence,” was clearly a crowd favorite, probably due to catchy lyrics like “I fell in love with your innocence, don’t know what happened to you ever since” and an addictive rift that had the crowd hooked, singing word for word.
“Enough is Enough” brought a faster melody and killer keyboard solo. The song cried out for attention with the lyrics “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you too.” Other attention grabbers on the setlist included “Can’t You See,” the first track off their sophomore album, and “Fine Time” which expresses the unfortunate timing of the end to a meaningful relationship.
Unsung heroes of the album deserving of recognition include the track “Take Your Time,” a tune that makes you want to dance (and certainly did) along with a high pitched vocal build-up at the end that filled up the venue with intensity. On the more jazz side of things, the track “This Woman” contains a smooth, seductive infectious tune with a touch of robust guitar-playing that urges you to keep listening for more. “Up,” the last slow song off the album, is the perfect closing track. It begs not to be forgotten with a soft, haunting melody.
Highlights of the show also included the performance of the EP “Day by Day” which first exploded them into the Austin music scene in 2015. The song is clearly another favorite as fans screamed when asked by Tomar, “Who knows this?” Another highlight worth mentioning: when Tomar’s 84-year-old dad came out to bust a move with him toward the end of the set.
Even though the title track was more on the softer slower side compared to the vigorous make-you-want-to-dance songs, I got the memo on why it was chosen as the title-holder. With lyrics like “I don’t know why, we go’n rise above.” and “You picked a real fine time to leave me darling,” the message was clear. The album and title track represent an uplifting, unified spiritual journey revolving around the evolution of time and relationships.
From energetic guitar solos to sultry soft melodies and killer keyboard playing, it’s not surprising the claimed-to-be soul album took inspiration from the diverse Austin landscape to incorporate diversified elements of rock, funk and blues compiled into one cohesive piece of art for the world to enjoy.
Cover photo Arius Holifield
Leean Vargas is an Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.