DepartureATX brings arena rock to life

Contributed

Departure ATX performs live at Uptown Sound in Marble Falls Saturday, April 29. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Journey fans who were “Raised on Radio” and are looking for an “Escape” from the “Evolution” of music don't need to “Look into the Future.” All they need is to seek out DepartureATX, Austin's premier Journey tribute band.

Burnet High School graduate Ryan Holley fronts the band as lead vocalist, much like Steve Perry fronted Journey in the 1970s and 1980s, and he said being in a Journey tribute band was something he wanted to do for a long time after moving to Austin.

Holley formerly was in a band called Societal Jive, featuring Marble Falls High School graduates David English, Jon English, and Clif Haley, which played throughout Burnet County and the Austin area.

“I initially wanted to start Journey cover band 10 years ago,” said Holley, a 1994 BHS graduate. “I had played in several bands in Austin and enjoyed some success and in these bands we had focused on original music. I was contacted by (keyboardist and vocalist) Mark Ramsey, who had started a Journey cover band in north Austin, and he asked me if I wanted to do it, so I decided to check it out.

“The musicianship was incredible among these guys. I went to school to learn how to play classical guitar, so I appreciate the professionalism they exhibit. I just had to work a hell of a lot on getting the vocals right.”

Holley, who also plays rhythm guitar, said the band played a few shows together 2015 before taking some time off to build up a full set list. In 2016, the band had its first full year of performances and has grown into “a regional rock powerhouse performing in markets all over Central Texas,” Holley said.

“Now we do shows four or five times a month, playing three to four hour shows,” he said. “We are a Journey tribute band, but we do a mixture of stuff on the side. We might do 30 Journey songs, but we will add in some Van Halen, Foreigner, Boston or the Eagles. We don't get too much into hair metal, like Def Leppard or Poison.

“We do the full-on, 1970s and 1980s arena rock experience, with a killer light show and some fog and effects. We do a little of our own spin on the songs, but try to capture them, for the most part, note for note, but with a heavier edge. Our goal is to give the best arena rock show we can get in a relatively small room in 2017.”

In addition to Holley and Ramsey, other band members include Jessie Monaghan on lead guitar, Scott Olsen on drums and vocals and Joel Godson on bass and vocals.

The band will return to Marble Falls at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 29, with a show at Uptown Sound Studio after previously playing in February at the venue.

“Booking and performing in the Hill Country is special to me because I got my start in that area in the early 1990s,” Holley said. “I still have a lot of family and friends in the area and I am always happy to see them when I come to town.”

For more information, check out the band's website at DepartureATX.com.

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