Kiley Michaels takes turns hugging the microphone stand and bouncing around stage. Sean Cook slams his guitar and whips his shaggy head of hair to and fro. Picking the bass with steady expertise, Nelson Bastidas furrows his eyebrows in concentration while Jordan Lewis erupts on the drums. This is just rehearsal for Southern Arrow.
While the local rock outfit formed less than six months ago, based on the band’s cohesive sound it seems as if these musicians have been playing together for years. The band will take the stage 10 p.m. Friday at Gasa Gasa in honor of the release of its self-titled debut extended play. The Colossal Heads and South Jones will open for Southern Arrow.
The band’s first release exudes pure rock and roll. The record will feature five original songs, all recorded at Balance Recording Studio with help from audio engineer David Troia. In preparation of the release, Southern Arrow uploaded two singles to YouTube: “I Will Never” and “Nola.” The EP in its entirety will be available Saturday via iTunes, ReverbNation, Amazon and Spotify.
While these musicians are new to each other, their instruments are not new to them. Vocalist Kiley Michaels, guitarist Sean Cook, bassist Nelson Bastidas and drummer Jordan Lewis each possess an eclectic range of prior musical experiences.
Michaels, Bastidas and Cook found each other through Craigslist last spring.
“We searched for a long time, and when we found each other there was a connection,” Michaels said. “You can’t fake it. It was more than just a musical connection, it was energy and friendship, and we wanted to work together. It’s hard to find, so when you find that fit, you just stick to it because it just doesn’t happen all the time.”
The trio next looked for the right drummer to fit its ensemble. After a few months of searching, Lewis joined the effort to make up an essential component of what became Southern Arrow.
In the short time the group has worked together, it has played several shows in the New Orleans area while simultaneously working on its own music.
“We’ll lock ourselves in some small, sweaty, grungy room and not leave until we have something awesome,” Cook said.
The band members place a high value on collaboration when it writes songs.
“Sean or Nelson will have a riff, and we’ll get together to hash it out and talk about what we like best,” Michaels said. “It grows organically. Then, I’ll write lyrics once we have some sort of structure.”
The future looks bright for Southern Arrow. Following the release party, the band will perform Oct. 4 across the river at Gretna Festival and open Oct. 15 for Buckcherry at the Howlin’ Wolf.
“I’ve been in so many bands, I’ve played so many styles of music,” Michaels said. “This is definitely the best one so far.”