Music Monday: Hikes at Barracuda in Austin, TX / by Tess Cagle

My journey as a Hikes fan began the same day my relationship with the local music community did—West By West Campus in 2014; my freshman year at college. It was shortly after I made a new year resolution to find friends who loved live music as much as I do and joined ORANGE Magazine's music staff. 

I just completed my "freshman" year of post-grad life and Hikes remains a constant for me;  a lasting tether to the music community and the most consist strand that weaves together most of my favorite memories in my favorite city. They were a part of my favorite nights out, my dearest moments with my best friends—Bryan and I even shared our first kiss while listening to Hikes' music. 

It's no secret that this past year has been the most lonely for me. Losing the constant, forced socialization I experienced in college has been tough and when I lived in New York last fall it was the toughest—I felt like I held no valuable space in a community and had lost all of my inner circle of pals to new, unfamiliar cities. When Hikes announced they were breaking up, it felt like the final blow; an end of an era forever. 

I write all of this because I think it's pertinent to know to understand the endless joy in my heart when I heard that Hikes planned to reunite this summer—the same joy I know hundreds of others felt when we heard the announcement. 

So this photo essay is dedicated to the Hikes community. The fam that shows up early to shows, embraces one another, and displays kindness to strangers. Who spend their money on tickets, CDs, and merch. Who watch the live streams when they can't make it. Everyone who has made me feel safe to happy mosh, crowd surf, and hold on tight to my loved ones. 

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I approached these photos pretty differently than I do most of my work. This was a much more meditative, careful approach. I just added a FUJI XT-20 to my gear and I guiltily haven't taken much time to learn its ins and outs—so these were all on single-shot mode, forcing me to be really careful about when I clicked to capture. I'm also publishing a few images that I would usually trash—out of focus, blurry, messy shots—because I love what they share about this show. 

Of course, there are the photos that are exactly and everything that I wanted. A common thread I love in these images are all the hands and crowd surfers. To me, they symbolize both the literal and non-literal ways members of a local scene hold one another up, including the band members. 

Lastly, can't forget about the actual band pics. <3 

Music Mondays are a weekly series on Tess Cagle Photography that highlights local musicians in the Austin area. Are you a local band looking to make some rad live photos? Invite Tess to hang out with ya here