AUSTIN, Texas — With a median age of 21, girl next door looks, and stage presence beyond their years, the Aces seem like they might have been dreamed up by a record executive. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Everyone thinks we were auditioned,” says bassist McKenna Petty. Her bandmates all chime in with similar sentiments.
“It’s annoying that because we’re girls, there’s automatically a lot of preconceptions, that we suck or that we’re put together,” adds lead guitarist and backup vocalist Katie Henderson.
The alternative pop quartet comprised of sisters Cristal Ramirez (vocals, guitar) and Alisa Ramirez (drums), plus their best friends McKenna and Katie, formed over a decade ago in the small college town of Provo, Utah, where they sharpened their chops playing hundreds of shows at local venues like Velour before signing to Red Bull Records.
Their decade of live experience translates to a steely confidence that helps them weather tough conditions, like blistering sun at their rooftop performance or a rough sound mix at their official showcase. Despite the setbacks, Cristal commands the mic with pop star authority while her bandmates riff along. Henderson hammers out lead guitar melodies inspired by her love of classic rock, McKenna’s bass dutifully lays the foundation for the pop hooks and Alisa’s steady drumming keeps the energy high. The musicianship is solid, but what stands out more is a chemistry that resembles a group of best friends — they formed for a school talent show — and part of the secret to their longevity.
“People always ask us how you manage to stay a band for this long. We’re all so close it’s like family,” says Cristal. “The band was such a big part of us growing up and our identity, you were never going to quit the band. That was just not a thing.”
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