Photos submitted by Landin Donohoe, originally published with The Groove Gazette.


A warm energy radiates from Conway’s Full Moon Records. From the hand-painted lunar mural on the wall to the busy collage of posters in mismatched frames hung across its tiny stage, this environment was curated to feel like home. 

Three Arkansas-native acts projected this intimate energy Jan. 27, with performances representing completely different genres–from piecemeal pact, indie soul-pop; from Head Empty, indie punk-pop; and from Sonic Fuzz, indie rock. However stark the sonic contrast, the performers were unified by their delivery. At the forefront of each performance were joy, authenticity and zero grandeur. 

The musicians hit the crests of their performances with subconscious smiles on their faces. Each took a conversational tone with the crowd that erased any possibility of judgment or formality–“I’m starting this song over because it was too quiet. And I’m not sorry,” piecemeal joked mid-set. Following suit, the lead of Sonic Fuzz nonchalantly confessed, “I would have sold stickers and shirts after the show, but I forgot them at home.” Personality shone through each act and made the show feel like a living room get-together between old friends. 

Piecemeal pact’s set felt especially like reconvening with an old friend. The artist balanced wavering electric guitar, home-spun beats played from an iPhone, and soulful vocals to create a soothing, yet electrifying listening experience. Their rolling chords were quick but smooth, like rushing water. The lyrics don’t shy away from life’s pains and conflicts, but the gentle baroqueness entrances listeners and protects them with a sense that it will all be okay. 


piecemeal pact


Following piecemeal pact, Head Empty took the stage with a forceful change of pace. If anyone in the audience was previously unfamiliar with Head Empty’s style, they were undoubtedly blown away by the enormity of their sound, even during their warm-up. Diverse punk influences shine through Head Empty’s music–the vocal drama of Gerard Way, the melodic sensibilities of The Replacements, and the anthemic sensitivity of Jimmy Eat World are harnessed to create a sound all their own. 


Head Empty


Sonic Fuzz opened the final act, hooking listeners onto “Melodies from Mars” with an entrancing repetitive melody. Although the ever-changing guitar tones and wave-like melodies of their latest album mimic the feeling of spinning in circles, the audience was content to sway and bop their heads with calm enthusiasm. Their live performance of the album reaffirms that Sonic Fuzz lies on a rock-solid foundation of precision, passion and mastery of their mediums. 

I left feeling a renewed appreciation for Full Moon Records, Conway and Arkansas as a whole. The honesty, skill and singularity of these artists acted as a love letter to a range of musical cultures, and a testament to the indelible passion and brilliance of Arkansas’ arts scene. Each act, though distinct in style, told the same truth about our community: Arkansas transmits emotion, vision and authenticity.