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The Band of Heathens w/ The Sweet Nuthin
September 22, 2012 @ 9:00 pm - 2:00 am
THE BAND OF HEATHENS
Since emerging as a favorite new live band out of Austin TX in the late 2000s, the Band of Heathens has toured relentlessly, building a devoted following and landing on some of the finest stages in music. Over three studio albums and hundreds of shows each year, they’ve evolved as a group and broadened their sound.
Their most recent studio album Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son spiked the already potent punch with a dash of jammy psychedelia. And their four-disc, two volume, live DVD release called the Double Down – Live in Denver (Vol. 1 & 2) features the band’s live variations and extensions of original material mostly from their last two studio albums. The rich and righteous vocal harmonies and legendary live shows that set TBoH apart from the beginning have just gotten better.
In 2012 The Band of Heathens experienced the first lineup change in 4 years with the departure of Colin Brooks, Seth Whitney, and John Chipman. So going forward, songwriting frontmen Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist are complimented by the rhythm section of drummer Richard Millsap, bassist Ryan Bowman and keyboard player Trevor Nealon. With a growing resume of key shows and broadcasts to their credit, (Bonnaroo, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits TV Show and ACL Festival among them), the slightly rejiggered Band of Heathens has never enjoyed so much renown or optimism.
Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son, released in 2011, stretches further, without breaking faith with the feel and integrity that got the Band of Heathens this far. The positive reaction from fans and critics vindicated the group’s hopes that the album would show growth. Blurt magazine said that “in a crowded roots rock field, (their) diversity sets them apart.” And “it would have been easy for [them] to play it safe on Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son,” said Pittsburgh’s Daily News. “But they decided to tweak their formula a bit and the results are truly memorable.” And American Songwriter ruled it “an album that begs to be listened to from start to finish.”
The Band of Heathens has been honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards, and has been nominated in various categories at the Americana Music Awards over the past few years. The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli called theirs the best set at South By Southwest 2009. And the rest of the press has been equally effusive: The Dallas Morning News calls them “a must-see show.” Maverick magazine says they’re “magnificent.” For The Chicago Tribune, the band felt “refreshingly different,” and The New York Times called their show at Brooklyn’s Union Hall “hungry, unflagging and lean.”
The Band of Heathens continues to be distinguished by creative collaboration and their epic live shows, which have earned them a strong fan base of folks who appreciate improvisation and a good jam, but crave a great song. And while songwriting and vocal duties are chiefly handled by the guys at the front of the stage, they are decidedly a five man band, benefitting from the equal input of all. It is truly a band that needs to evolve to survive, and the fans have rewarded that growth at every turn.
THE SWEET NUTHIN
The Sweet Nuthin was the outcome of a gig between two of Austin’s most promising up-and-coming bands, The Steps and The Daze. Each digging by the other, they would play together many times over the next few years, leading the charge of bands trying to keep the youth dancing. Both earned opportunities that most other young bands could only dream of: after being picked up by Kevin Wommack’s Loophole Management, The Steps toured the States,
England, and Japan, played the Austin City Limits music festival twice, and released a self-titled album produced by Frenchie Smith. The Daze were selected for the ?lm Bandslam, featured on its soundtrack alongside David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, and Wilco, and recorded their own debut LP Straightjacket Hymns under the guidance of two-time Austin Music Awards Producer of the Year Rick del Castillo.
When Evan Charles, guitarist and vocalist for The Daze, decided to start a new band the ?rst members were obvious choices. Chris Ritchie, a transplant from The Daze and a childhood friend would play bass. Z Lynch, drummer of The Steps, signed on immediately. Colin Peters was recruited after coming to Austin from NYC because real rock’n’roll bands have two guitars.
Primarily drawing inspiration from The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, Ryan Adams, and The Strokes, the band’s motto from the beginning has been “Less is more.” Restraint in service of the song. The Sweet Nuthing have been gigging hard and building a following in Austin. They’re now looking to the rest of Texas and will be getting on the road this summer.