Lago del Pino, located off Spur 364 in Tyler, provides great entertainment for the under-21-year-old student looking for a stress-free midweek outing. The restaurant also provides a stage for introducing emerging local bands to the public.
The crowd is composed of many students from UT Tyler and TJC, making Lago del Pino even more of an attraction for young adults. The atmosphere sends relaxing vibes as the lights are dimmed for the performers to play their music. When the local band, Pocket Tangerine stepped up to the microphone on Open-Mic Night recently at Lago, the audience was anxious to hear how the band would sound.
Composed of seven members, Pocket Tangerine is a band formed by TJC students doing what they love most- delighting the crowd with a series of grooves and rhythms.
“We like to arrange songs that are entertaining to the general audience. We are a bunch of nerds, so we cover Star Wars music and the theme from Inspector Gadget,” said McGraw. “We also cover stuff like ‘Seven Nation Army’, and other different popular songs. But, we try to make [the songs] into our own style basically giving the pop music the essence of jazz music.”
The band does capture that jazzy essence through the instruments that the group uses. The rhythm is produced by the guitar, bass, and drums. However, unlike many bands, Pocket Tangerine holds the melody with two saxophonists, a trumpet, an occasional trombone, and a violinist, giving the audience a feel of their unique talent.
Crowds surrounded the band as they performed songs such as the theme from Tetris and other entertaining hits that the audience could relate to. The music played by the bassist set the perfect mood for dancing, while other spectators sat back and listened and simply enjoyed the show that the TJC students were putting on. The employees of Lago del Pino tapped their feet to the unique sound the band made.
“There is no other band like this in Tyler,” said Chris Smith, the guitarist for local band, White Lighter.
“They have one of the best local bassists that I’ve ever heard,” another audience member said.
When the band was finished performing their jazzy versions of well-known songs, audience members wanted even more, shouting cheers for an encore.
Having a huge crowd provides motivation to the band members. McGraw said the larger an audience is, the more comfortable he and his fellow performers get.
“The energy just clicks when there is a lot of people,” said McGraw. “The first time that we… played together as a band in a public setting, we performed inside [of Lago del Pino]. As soon as we started playing, the crowd gathered up in front of us and it was awesome. It gave us a chance to show our individual musicianship.”
Balancing full-time classes with practice time has not been an issue for the members of Pocket Tangerine.
“[All of the fellow band members] are driven by learning more about music whether it be directly in classes … at TJC or through traveling and playing with fellow musicians,” McGraw, a music education major, said. “The education will definitely not stop because we still have a desire to gain more and more knowledge.”
The band generally performs at Lago del Pino and Shogun of Japan, located on Broadway, near Little Italy.
For a schedule of upcoming live performances, check out the Pocket Tangerine Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PocketTangerines.