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June 19, 2021

Five Minutes to stardom

From country, to blues, to jazz and swing, entertainment at the Garlic Festival was in abundance this year, as several talented acts performed at the four stages, set up throughout Christmas Hill Park, all weekend long.
But for one musical group, the opportunity to play at the festival wasn’t just another gig – it was a homecoming of sorts.
Five Minutes to Freedom took to the amphitheater stage Sunday, with their smooth-rock sound, captivating the ears and hearts of garlic-loving festival-goers.
Under the warm, mid-summer sun, people of all ages flocked to watch, dance and listen to the band, as they played well-known cover songs, along with their own original music.  
Made up of four members: Daniel Carillo, 26, Tomas Carillo, 27, Kevin Pfeffer, 28 and PJ Jammal, 25 – all Gilroy natives, Five Minutes to Freedom has built a following around town that is steadily growing.
This is the band’s third year playing the festival, and they say it feels good coming home every time.
“It’s great to play here. This is where we grew up, so to play a home show like this, to be able to play for our closest friends gets us pumped,” said Kevin Pfeffer, the band’s guitarist.
The group boasts a long history together, having known each other for nearly 10 years, first forming the band during their years at Gilroy High School.
“We started out in high school… writing music, playing shows locally and it just took off from there,” said Daniel Carillo, who plays bass guitar and also sings vocals.
Throughout the years, the band has proved themselves to be top-notch performers, doing things like going on tour, recording three albums and playing regularly in cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles.
Known for their smooth sound and danceable rock music, the members of Five Minutes to Freedom are somewhat pioneers, as they create their own style of music, combining a variety of different influences.
“I think our sound encompasses all kinds of different genres. You can categorize us as alternative rock, but we also have a reggae, Latin, funk feel,” said Daniel Carillo.
The band’s lead singer and Daniel’s older brother, Tomas Carillo, credits their influences to bands like 311 and Foo Fighters.
However, he admitted, their musical style is something that is constantly evolving.
“As the years have progressed, we’ve changed our sounds a little bit… It’s hard to define at this point because we’re all over the map.”
But it’s their chameleon-like quality that makes their music stand out.
As they played throughout their 45-minute set Sunday afternoon, dozens more people arrived, all bobbing their heads and clapping along to the music.
Between playing original tracks off their more recent albums, as well as covers, like “Wonderwall” by Oasis, the band certainly caught the audience’s attention.
“I think they have a really well-balanced sound,” said Dawie Cavte of Gilroy.
“They keep the crowd intrigued because they play originals and covers, which shows their artistic abilities” said Christopher Torres of San Francisco, who’s been following the band for years.
As Five Minutes to Freedom defines which direction they want to take their music, the band said currently they’re in the process of writing new material while they work on their fourth album.
For now, they encourage listeners and fans to check out their website, for the latest news and show information, as well as iTunes, where the band has music available for download.
Five Minutes to Freedom said they’re anticipating coming back and playing next year’s Garlic Festival.
“It’s an honor every time.” Daniel Carillo said.
However, one thing that is certain is the band’s love for Garlic Festival food.
Although they can’t all agree on one favorite dish, like true Gilroyans, they all agree that the best place to be at the Garlic Festival – aside from the amphitheater, of course – is Gourmet Alley.

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