By ASHLEY CENTERS
For Inland 360
“Halloween is absolutely my favorite holiday, followed only by the Fourth of July because I get to blow stuff up,” said Andru Gomez, vocalist for Astronaut and the Trees. “I like loud things. It’s one of those wicked nights where even mild-mannered people can hide behind a mask and get a little wild, and crazy people just go off the deep end. The music at John’s Alley amplifies that even more.”
Astronaut and the Trees was formed in 2012 as Gomez’s previous band was breaking up. He wanted an outlet for his solo material, which evolved into a metal and psychadelic rock band with Will Tompson, the other half of the duo. They had known each other for a few years and jammed together previously.
“I’m a bit obsessive about music,” Gomez said. “I don’t think there’s a real explanation for it. I just am. Some people like cars; I like sounds. What excites me the most is the creation of something new. I always have melodies and riffs in my head that are trying to get out. It may be a curse, though. Imagine having a different tune in your head every day that won’t leave until you finish writing it. It’s something like that.”
The Lewiston-based band released the EP, “Into the Crater,” in 2016 and is to begin recording its first full-length album next month. The duo also recently released a single, “Mamma’s Jam,” on SoundCloud. “Into the Crater,” can be found on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music.
Thompson said his favorite part of performing is when someone asks about a specific song by singing part of a guitar riff or quoting a lyric from it. He said that’s when it’s clear they’ve connected with the music like he and Gomez do. As for their Halloween show with Mother Yeti at John’s Alley, Thompson said patrons can expect “damaged hearing and a riff to hum in the coming weeks.”
Besides teaching at Jenifer Junior High School in Lewiston and playing in the band, Thompson has been a committee member for Clarkston’s Rockin’ on the River summer concert series for the past eight years. He said he helps with some of the planning and gets to work directly with the bands at the event, including last summer’s main act, Blues Traveler. He’s also started vinyl record swaps in the area.
“John’s Alley is the best music venue in the Quad Cities,” Thompson said. “They earn and maintain this unofficial title well. Their regulars know it’s the place to be, and anyone who is bar hopping is immediately in on the party. People connect there. It’s an authentic, no (BS), ‘let’s have a killer time’ vibe.”
WHO: Halloween Party with Astronaut and The Trees and Mother Yeti
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
WHERE: John’s Alley Tavern, 114 E. Sixth St., Moscow