The 2023 Poteet Strawberry Sift will see a new addition this year and it is sure to be a hit with everyone that loves music.
This year, The Sift will feature the anticipated Battle of the Bands, highlighting local talent from the area in all genres, looking to be the coveted winner.
This first ever Battle of the Bands will feature local contestants and the winner will receive $1,000 with the chance to perform at the Poteet Strawberry Festival.
Judges for this year’s event will be musician Jarrett Akers, musician Oscar Montemayor and Pleasanton Express Publisher Noel Wilkerson Holmes.
Here is a look at the bands scheduled to compete.
Alex Rodriguez of Mista Tone will be performing original Christian rap at the Battle of the Bands on April 8. Rodriguez said, “I came up with the name based off of scripture, ‘Everything that has breath, praise the Lord,’ and that’s how I’ve been doing music – just by the tone.”
Mista Tone is currently working with a record label, Praise Music Entertainment, and they perform all over Texas. As far as influences go, Rodriguez credits mainstream rapper Lecrae with having an impact on Mista Tone’s style of music.
Rodriguez has been to the Strawberry Festival many times over the years. He enjoys eating the funnel cakes and listening to the music, but he’s never played there. Rodriguez said, “That’s one thing I haven’t done. It would mean a whole lot [to play there]; it’d be like a check off my bucket list.”
The goal for Mista Tone is to be able to make enough money with music to make it a full-time job. Rodriguez said that Mista Tone will have a music video and a song, “Let’s Go,” coming out soon. The song will be available on Youtube, Facebook and all major digital platforms. You can find out more on the Facebook page Mista Tone.
The Solis Brothers will be bringing their brand of original country/rock tunes along with some country and rock covers to the Battle of the Bands on April 8. Older, and selfprofessed more attractive, brother Eddie plays acoustic guitar and sings, and Christian plays lead guitar and sings harmony vocals.
The Solis Brothers are currently playing all over Texas and are looking forward to going to Nashville in June and Kansas and Oklahoma in August. They’ve been featured on KSAT SA Live and have released an EP titled “Gone.” You can find their music on all streaming platforms, and they have several videos on YouTube. They are on Facebook and have a webpage, solisbros.com.
Eddie said, “We want to hit it big – as big as we can get. But my brother and I always talk about it all being a part of God’s plan, so we’re just trying to go wherever the wind takes us.”
The brothers have been to the Strawberry Festival many times, but they’ve never played it. Eddie said, “Awe, man – it would be a full-circle moment for me [to play Strawberry Festival]. Our parents have been taking my brother and me there since as long as I can remember.” Christian said, “I think we’d definitely consider that a mark in our journey. It’d be really cool.”
Conjunto Mismo Sol
“If you were in a band and you walked down Guadalupe St., you’d never get mugged,” says Jose Villaseñor. “It was a rough part of town, but the people loved the musicians that played the cantinas there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Villaseñor’s band, Conjunto Mismo Sol, is all about keeping traditional cantina music alive – the kind they played on Guadalupe St. in San Antonio back in the day.
The bandmembers have been together for 11 years. Their influences include Ramon Ayala and David Farias (Texmaniacs). Most of the songs on their setlist are cover tunes, but they are currently working on some original music. They have a video of the song “Quiero Que Sepas” on YouTube, and you can keep up with them on their Facebook page, Conjunto Mismo Sol.
Conjunto Mismo Sol was set to be the official conjunto band for Fiesta San Antonio a couple of years ago before COVID made Fiesta go away for a while. They would love to have the opportunity to play the Strawberry Festival.
According to Villaseñor, “We don’t expect music to pay the bills for us, but it will pay the bill at Whataburger. We’re not the best or the worst, but we’re pretty good and we’ll get you dancing.”
Texas Road Dawgz
The Texas Road Dawgz are a cover band that plays a little bit of everything, as long as by “everything,” you mean blues, country, and classic rock. Guitarist Gilbert Diaz said that they have been together about two years and are influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd, Dwight Yoakum, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Led Zeppelin; in his words, “all the old bands.” They have written one original song, but they mainly play as a hobby and do not have music available on any digital platforms.
Diaz is excited about the Battle of the Bands competition and the opportunity to play the Poteet Strawberry Festival if they win. He said, “I’ve been going there since I was a kid, and I always check out the bands that come. I’m always, like, MAN – I’d like to be on that stage one day.” He continued, “It’s just a hobby. We have our everyday lives. We have jobs and everything. If we get a gig, we’ll go play it.”
Diaz’s son, Jesse, plays bass in the band. Other members include Louie Macias, Valdo Oliva, Jesse Oliva and Jerry Musquiz. They play as far away as the Carter Creek Winery in Johnson City and occasionally in Bracken. You can keep up with them on their Facebook page, Texas Road Dawgz.
A Bailar! is a family affair, and, as the name suggests (it means “to dance” in Spanish), they like to get people dancing. The band is made up of bassist/vocalist Andrew Garcia; his wife, Michelle, on keyboards and vocals; his brother-in-law, Andres Garcia, on guitar and vocals; his brother, John Lugo, on drums and his best friend, Miguel Medina, on accordion and vocals. However, the family connection goes deeper still. Brothers Andrew and John were influenced and inspired along their musical journey by their dad, Amador Lugo, and the band he used to play in, La Sirenas de Caribe.
Andrew Garcia says that A Bailar! plays it all – cover tunes of norteño, cumbias, Tejano music and more. They formed in December of 2022 and are just starting to play gigs, so they don’t have music out on any digital music platforms or a presence on social media yet. Garcia said, “It’d be pretty cool winning that spot [at the Strawberry Festival]. I’d be curious to watch the audience, get their reaction and see who clicks with what song.” Indeed, winning the Battle of the Bands on April 8 would go a long way towards helping A Bailar! get established in the South Texas/San Antonio area music scene.
The Pimpled Youth
Punk rock began in the 70s with hard-edged, three-chord, rage-againstauthority tunes that were more about the attitude of the musicians than, necessarily, their ability to play their instruments. In 1982, that’s what drew high school friends Ruben Alaniz, Tracy Brown and a couple of others, who are no longer with the band, to the genre. They formed “The Pimpled Youth”, and they have played together off-and-on ever since. In 2020, Alaniz heard a song by the Dictators called “Let’s Get the Band Back Together,” so Brown and Alaniz, along with Alaniz’s son, Roger, did exactly that. The band members are no longer youths. Alaniz says, “We’re just old and beat-up, but the music is fun. In our heads, we never grew up, so it all works out.”
Alaniz says that he goes to the Strawberry Festival every year but has never played there. Asked what it would mean to win, he said, “Oh – that would be amazing, but we have no plans of winning.” On playing at the Battle of the Bands event on April 8, he said, “Just to be on stage together, to be in front of people again – it’s gonna mean a whole lot, because I am no longer a young man, so this is a bucket list thing for me.”
Nsedeo is a Latin/Tejano band that was formed by Martin Chapa in 2022, and though they’ve just stared playing together, Chapa says that it feels like they’ve been playing together for years. Chapa, a 2010 Pleasanton High School graduate, said, “We play a variety of music: country, Tejano, conjunto, cumbias, rancheras – you name it.” Some of their influences include La Mafia, Excellencia, Michael Salgado and Ramon Ayala.
Chapa says that the band recently signed with Hacienda Records, and they are in the process of recording an album that will be out in four or five months. The first single off the album, “Nada de Ti,” is ready for release and will soon be available on all digital platforms.
Nsedeo has never played the Strawberry Festival, but Chapa is excited about the opportunity. On the prospect of winning the Battle of the Bands, Chapa said, “It would mean a lot. It would help us introduce the band to this area and the world.”
Nsedeo plays at Dalton’s Place in Pleasanton and will be part of the lineup for Cinco de Mayo 2023 at the Pleasanton River Park on May 6. For more information on the band, go to their Facebook page, Grupo Nsedeo.
Tejano Cavalry has been around for about 12 years. At the 2013 Tejano Globe award event held in Houston, they won “Best New Group.” They have two albums, “Nada es Impossible” and “Sin Ti,” available on iTunes, and they have a third, “Back to Our Roots,” with guest appearances by David Lee and Adam Garza, due out soon.
Accordion player and band leader Angel Valdez said, “We’re just humble musicians that love music. We play mostly originals, with a few covers.” When asked who their influences were, there was no hesitation. “David Lee Garza.” Valdez continued, “We grew up with David Lee. We love his style, and we look up to him.”
Tejano Cavalry plays all around the San Antonio, Victoria, and Rio Grande Valley areas, but they have never played the Strawberry Festival. Valdez said, “That’d be a big check off the bucket list. That’s my hometown; I was raised in Poteet, and I go [to the festival] every year. I will miss work, call in sick – everybody knows it. I do not miss it!”
Valdez will get his shot at a spot to play the festival this year at the Battle of the Bands on April 8. If you want to keep up with the latest Tejano Cavalry news, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.
Another Side Another Story
Another Side Another Story plays music that is a blend of rock, metal, and alternative rock. They have been playing together for the last 10-11 years and have released one album, Through the Eyes of Jun, on YouTube and an EP, Penance of Sound. Most of the songs they play live are original, but according to band leader, vocalist and guitarist Dakota Brinegar, they throw in a cover song now and again just to get people to pay attention.
Brinegar said, “Personally, I don’t care if we are the next Metallica, or whatever. I just want people to listen to our music and enjoy what we play – I just want some kind of connection like that.”
Another Side Another Story has never played the Poteet Strawberry Festival. Asked what it would mean to them to play there, Brinegar said, “It would mean a lot – just show everybody who hasn’t had a chance to see us what we can do. We’re very passionate about our music.”
Another Side Another Story plays all over San Antonio: Bond’s 007 Rock Bar, Paper Tiger and Thirsty Camel, just to name a few. You can keep up with them on Instagram. Their page is currently under construction, but it should be up soon.
With a name like “Bandera,” this band must be from the Cowboy Capitol of the World, right? WRONG – the guys in the band just liked the name. 2016 Poteet High School graduate Alejandro Rivera plays drums, and his former 2016 PHS classmate, Emmanuel Vega, plays bass. Rivera’s brother, Ezekiel, plays lead guitar, and Robert Paredes, originally from Del Rio, rounds out the group on vocals and rhythm guitar.
Bandera is an indie rock group that formed in October of 2022, and they are currently playing venues in downtown San Antonio at Market Square and the Brick at Blue Star. Drawing influence from bands like Kings of Leon, the Strokes, Maroon 5 and others, Rivera says that the band plays mostly cover tunes, but they add their own unique style to each arrangement. They have a couple of original singles out on Spotify and Apple Music, the most popular one being “Stand Up”. Rivera is working on an Instagram page for the band and hopes to have that up soon.
Zero members of the band have ever played the Poteet Strawberry Festival, but Rivera said, “I’ve been every year. It would definitely have a homecoming feel [to play the festival]. It would be a really big deal for us – a heartfelt event.”