Scott Tucker is a busy man. The guy is a visual artist, writer, singer/songwriter, and touring musician. Since the dissolution of Tucker's larger-than-life local rock and roll phenomenon, The Orange, Tucker has stayed busy with new, statement-charged rock and roll in his latest project, Aztec Milk Temple. Formed in 2017, Aztec Milk Temple's progression was somewhat hindered in the live music-less climate of 2020. However, the band was still behind the scenes hard at work on their upcoming full-length record that has already spawned a few singles. When it was announced a few months ago that Aztec Milk Temple would be going on tour and opening their Fall dates in Austin, I jumped at the opportunity to finally see the band after what felt like an eternal drought of Tucker's unapologetic brand of socially-charged rock and roll.
Since forming, the band has added a lead guitarist to account for every electrifying sound that Tucker has penned into these songs that would round out their set tonight at Austin's beloved Mohawk in Austin's live music stronghold, The Red River District. Aztec Milk Temple consists of Scott Tucker, Vince Martin, and Braxton Fugate. All of which are no strangers to the live music scene, and this outing as Aztec Milk Temple showed the band members doing what they do best. Aztec Milk Temple had the coincidental affair of being the after-party spot for the outdoor Tigers Jaw show that was also happening at the Mohawk the same night, and the band didn't start playing until minutes after Tigers Jaw left the outdoor stage while Aztec Milk Temple was housed in the indoor portion of the venue.
To open the band's set, Aztec Milk Temple went in screaming with its debut single, Digital Natives. When this track dropped in the summer of 2020, it felt like the band was making a tell-all statement on the state of the world at the time. We were all stuck inside, left to our devices with nothing but the screens that have dominated the world's households for decades. The track's stadium-worthy chorus had me in a hollering singalong with Tucker as I was standing right beneath his mic stand in the cramped indoor stage room of the joint, which served as a worthy kickoff for the band in a soaring start to the night.
The band's set continued with the also-released Hey Mr, starting with an exciting opening guitar riff that will get crowds going each night of this tour. You'll just have to listen to this one. The verses and choruses both have loads of singalong power, with each line making you hang on Tucker's every word. Aztec Milk Temple then continued their set with a tune from Tucker's former band, The Orange, with a sinister track called Valium. The melodic guitar work on this track showcases the band's ability to make Tucker's creations come to life with the alluring guitar melodies that the band's new 2nd guitarist wasted no time filing the lead guitar duties for as the band filled the room for the track's anthemic titular chorus chant.
Perhaps the show's highlight was the band's pair of tracks, Money Cancer and Milk, with both tracks segueing into one another. On the track Milk, Tucker spirals into an uncontrollable lyrical whirlwind of the world of technology and media misinformation that's been magnified since the events of 2020 and beyond. The track's chorus crafts the blazing mission statement, "This Aztec Milk, drink of the gods. Like pure red silk, it brings the sun." Given all of Tucker's released music to date, there's always a statement to be made, and it's really up to the listener how to heed the words of Tucker as times grow darker in our world of corruption and the innocence of our youth being lost at younger and younger ages.
As the band drew to the end of their set, it felt like very little time had passed, if any. The band was ripping through their songs, even promising a debut LP soon to the masses. To close out the set, the band engaged in one final jam, shredding their respective instruments into near-total exhaustion. The mayhem didn't stop until the switches on their amplifiers were shifted into the "Off" position. Aztec Milk Temple had only finished the first stop of their Fall run, and there are many to follow this initial spectacle. Aztec Milk Temple's tour continues through the weekend. If you're near them, catch them and soak in a best-kept secret in rock!
Listen to Aztec Milk Temple: https://idolrecords.bandcamp.com/track/milk
Aztec Milk Temple Tour Dates: 11/15 Mohawk, Austin TX, 11/16 Nomads, Fayetteville AR
11/17 The Blue Note, Oklahoma City, OK, 11/18 Doublewide, Dallas TX, 11/19 The Whittier, Tulsa, OK