The last two Thursday night performances in Unicorn Lake's free Summer Concert Series, featuring pop rock group Velvet Army tonight and rock band 11:40 next week, should end on a high note if last week's concert is any indication. Last Thursday's performance by Live Music Records contest winner, the Vince Lujan Project, had audience members singing and up on their feet. The concert was led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Vince Lujan, a former UNT Jazz Studies student originally from Houston, and featured driving electric and acoustic guitar riffs and surprise saxophone solos. The brainchild of Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain, Co-owner Ken Willis said the Unicorn Lake Summer Concert Series happens in front of—you guessed it—an outdoor fountain. Willis said the purpose of the event, now in its second year, is to, “bond with the community and build recognition for the area.” Concert-goers gathered at patio tables, lawn chairs and makeshift seats as servers from Rising Sun Cafe delivered food orders from pink roller skates. Meanwhile, Beth Marie's mascot, the rambunctious “Ice Cream Cone,” made high-energy appearances, dancing, posing and playing with adults and children in the crowd.
The Vince Lujan Project played a mix of original and classic pop, rock, jazz and R&B. Later, we spoke with Lujan, who mused that people often deem their music as “hard to classify because we do so many things.” According to Lujan, band members joke that their music is that “blues-rock-pop-funk-Latin-soul thing.” Lujan himself defines the group as a “singer-songwriter jam band” that crosses “between Dave Matthews and Carlos Santana,” and is “catchy music people can groove to.” Lujan attributes the band's “blended” sound to its fusion of members: “We all come from so many backgrounds, musically.” Drummer James Montgomery, who named his own musical influences as “R&B, gospel and rock,” said he met Lujan at church. After creating the band in 2002, Lujan said he met keyboardist Taylor Ervin and other band members Greg Rochford, Aaron Whitman and Jesus Rodriguez at “various gigs,” including work and church. Lujan said, “We like to think we're putting a new spin on the Texas sound.”
Besides moving to Vince Lujan Project's “sound” during up-tempo songs like “Can't Deny” and “Cooler,” audience members got the chance to contemplate the band's deeper meanings while listening to Vince speak during slower songs. Lujan challenged the social consciousness of listeners, during the group's re-vamped version of “We Shall Overcome.” In “SSLS,” (Sad, Sappy Love Song) the band encouraged listeners to celebrate the times of being helplessly, hopefully in love. Yet another time, Lujan led male audience members in a serenade to their significant others while he sang a cover of The Temptations' “My Girl.” Throughout the night, Lujan seized opportunities to interject his performance with encouraging epithets—a move he maintains is no mistake: “I subscribe to the Christian faith,” the former youth minister who grew up Catholic said. “And believe a musician's job is to transmit love” and to give songs that “sense of justice, harmony, peace and forgiveness.” Lujan said he happily accepted the invitation to perform by series co-promoter and Denton Radio co-founder, Jake Laughlin, because it offered “the chance to spread love and bring people and families together.”
Bringing families and the public together is what the Unicorn Lake Summer Concert Series is all about, according to Beth Marie's General Manager Ashley Meyer: “It is a free family event to get the community involved.” Tonight's concert at the Unicorn Lake shops on 2900 Wind River Lane in Denton, goes from 7-8:30 p.m.