San Antonio’s Last Blazing Saddle: Lonely Horse

They say lightning does not strike twice and if it does, it’s magic.

For San Antonio band Lonely Horse, they not only struck lightning in town, but with their announcement of their retirement, the anticipation is high to see if another band like them will emerge and take the reins.

The unexpected and recently announced retirement of city favorite, Lonely Horse, sparked some initial shock throughout the music scene in the Alamo City. Fans were talking but also fellow musicians in San Antonio. A lot of people thought Lonely Horse would never retire or stop playing music.

They were seen as the last bastion of hope for others that were trying to capture the magic of being a premiere band in San Antonio.

“It’s just another step in life, you know? It’s not sad, mixed feelings really, sadness and being relieved. I wouldn’t say anything bad, in life we grow, and we change,” Lonely Horse lead singer Nick Long on thoughts on retirement.

Drummer Travis Hild, shared few words but the impact was still there, “bittersweet, you know? Just a change.”

The sentiments were brief, and you couldn’t help but feel the same shared “sadness,” if you will, thinking about them not playing live music anymore. They played throughout various venues that have since come and gone in the city.

“It’s interesting to see how it’s changing, I’m hoping it goes in a positive direction. I hope it stays true to itself and doesn’t get caught up in the gentrification. A lot of things are changing in this city and it’s affecting how bands are. I hope it’s for the best, just growing pains,” Long said of San Antonio’s music current and future music scene.

Limelight was the band’s choice for their second to last live performance. I walked up to the bar and saw Nick patiently waiting, having a Lone Star beer and chatting with some locals. I ordered us the famous, “Golden God” shot at Limelight. Down the hatch, it went after a pairing of Lone Star with a Topo Chico for a rounded-up drink.

I started to see the venue in the light that Long mentioned, Limelight was affected and the people in the venue were different. Akin to seeing Lonely Horse perform in 2015 in the same venue. The energy was different.

Different in a good and bad way and in one way summarized by Long.

“It’s definitely different, there used to be a lot of pepper, now there’s a lot of salt in the scene, if you know what I mean. Paper Tiger is different, the gentrification, people from out of the city are moving in, from New York, and doing things their way and putting their booking agents for new shows. Paper Tiger really did a number on this scene and it shows, just where bands play, venues are kind of just disappearing. I don’t even know if Hi-Tones does rock music anymore. There are some things I don’t agree with, but it comes with gentrification, and I’m not totally against it,” Long continued.

One thing remained, when the smoke started to pour onto the stage and into the crowd people knew what was about to go down. Lonely Horse had its saddle ready to go and the crowd was ready to charge into battle.

A mix of blues, dark reds, purple hues, and more set the stage presence for those who may not have been familiar with the aesthetic of Lonely Horse.

Nick struck down the first chord and sent a shockwave pulse throughout the crowd eagerly awaiting the second lightning strike. Travis brought down the sticks to his drums and the two-piece band created a perfect duality of rock and roll that sent shivers down your spine and had the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

A lot of people in the venue including myself did not know what was going to happen next but we were all in silent agreement that we were there to witness history and to witness Lonely Horse cement their legacy in San Antonio as the greatest band that never was.

There is one more chance for you to experience the energy that Lonely Horse has to offer. The grand finally is set to take place very soon. I will be there for the last ride and hope you will too.

This story was originally published for News 4 San Antonio.

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