When the Kansas City punk band Here’s To The Life last performed in St. Joseph, things were different.
The band still was a three-piece unit, a pandemic wasn’t raging and it was about to embark on its most ambitious album yet.
“It’s been awesome to see the full potential of what this band can do,” he said.
Adding lead guitarist Aaron Garcia to the mix, along with St. Joseph natives Patrick Rivera and Drew Huffman and bassist Mati Mat, the band returns to the area with a new fuller sound.
“We have definitely taken a step forward,” Rivera said.
The band will be performing with opener Trevor Rowe on the outdoor patio of Mokaska Coffee, 705 Edmond St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. It is open to all ages.
The performance will mark the end of an 18-month live music hiatus for the band. During that time, the members kept busy writing music, sending work around to each other and tracking an upcoming album, the fittingly titled “Forward Motion.”
“That’s in relation to not just the music ... It’s just the progression of us. And musically, I guess you can say, I didn’t write any more complicated guitar part to that ... but I just really took the time to learn to structure songs and utilize the best potential from everyone in the band,” Rivera said.
With that said, the Mokaska performance will serve as a preview of what’s to come with Here’s To The Life. But it won’t be the full picture. Bassist Mati Mat will be absent from the show, with Rivera filling in for him.
“We just kind of wanted to give people a little sample of what we’ve been working on so that people know that hey, we’re still alive. We’re still out here. We’ve just been working a lot of behind the scenes,” Rivera said.
What they’ve been cooking up is something special, adding in Garcia’s skate-punk influence to the mix, as well as guest vocalists like The American Life’s Sean MolenKamp and Joey Henry from Calamity Cubes.
“We’re not overloaded with guests. But it’s fun to have them on there. For a punk band or pop-punk band, that doesn’t happen too often,” Rivera said.
Making its sole trek to St. Joseph in 2021, Rivera said he hopes to see a lot of the people who helped support his early work so they can check out what’s to come. While the album likely won’t arrive until 2022, St. Joe will get the first previews of what Rivera considers an artistic achievement for the band.
“We want to say that we have a full album under our belt we’re proud of and this is it,” he said.