One Way Sky goes unplugged at Heard Museum’s First Friday
Gila River Indian News
Local Arizonans know that Downtown Phoenix is the best place to join the art scene on the first Friday of the month. Art museums are open to the public past their regular hours and waive the entry fees on that selected day of the month. The Heard Museum also takes part in that model on First Fridays, exposing art enthusiasts to the renowned establishment that contains a mixture of new and old styles of American Indian artistry and history.
On Aug. 4, the Heard’s newest installment, “Heard Unplugged,” featured the up-and-rising Community four-piece indie-rock band, One Way Sky. The “Unplugged” program featured an artist talk and performance in the Steele Auditorium, allowing the band to perform an array of original music, both electric and acoustic.
Adrian D Thomas, from District 5, serves as One Way Sky’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Before their performance, Thomas opened the art talk session inside the museum’s area featuring O’otham art in their main exhibit area.
“Me, personally, my journey in music has helped me heal through a lot of trauma that I’ve experienced in my life,” said Thomas to the audience. Thomas also acknowledged the complex life stories woven into the art around him found in the exhibit of O’otham art and basketry. Similarly, he and his band members try to express themselves creatively by incorporating their stories within their music and lyrics.
“Being in this room feels serene, like being among the O’otham and putting our own [Art] piece to the puzzle,” said Lomayokva Manuel from District 3. Manuel serves as a vocalist and the bass player for One Way Sky. He mentioned that his music connects him to the O’otham culture because music has always been a critical part of the culture. Manuel also shared that music gives a sense of healing, and the band conveys good medicine to their listeners.
During the artist talk, One Way Sky band members Cody Bruguier, from the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Manuel shared how they formed their band. “He [Thomas] messaged me, and he’s like, ‘Yo, you want to jam,’” said Bruguier. Thomas and Bruguier met in high school while learning to play instruments. Bruguier said that, he knew, a group would be formed eventually, given their shared passion for music.
For the rest of the evening the audience enjoyed their performance that showcased One Way Sky’s Indigenous influence through a blend of dreamy sounds and thoughtful lyrics. Inside the Steele Auditorium One Way Sky played before a packed audience filled with fans and museum attendees that featured their latest hit, “Indian Route 15.” Then rounding out the night they played an acoustic encore within the museum’s hallway for a more intimate and closed session.