I’ve observed two schools of thought when it comes to band debuts. On one hand, several bands I’ve talked to deliberately refrained from “going public” until they had played together for months and maybe even made a record first. Then on the other side, there are bands who choose to evolve publicly, being willing to step out there and play gigs during their formative phase, letting the experience shape them.
I’d place Jay Ryan and his new band, HighRaceVine, into the second category.
Jay, you might recall, hosts the weekly open stage at the D-Note in Olde Town Arvada. He’s all about encouraging people to get up on stage and explore the possibilities. Indeed, the three talented musicians who make up HighRaceVine really had their origins jamming on the open stage, experimenting together. They discovered that a classic blues-rock guitar, a bass guitar and a cello played like a rock-and-roll instrument just might put a new spin on the whole rock sound thing. They decided to try it.
Tuesday night, in home territory at the D-Note, the fledgling band had its inaugural concert. They did lots of cover tunes, covering rock-and-roll from The Beatles to Kings of Leon, threw in a couple of originals, and even wrote a song on the spot using the “random song generator”–asking the audience for random information and forming a chord sequence out of it.
Was it rough? Sure, it was rough, at least in spots. But remember, this is a band from “school number 2″. All three musicians are skilled veterans who know when something sounds good, and when it’s rough. (“The more you drink, the better we sound,” Jay quipped.) They weren’t there to knock it out of the park on the first swing; they were there to grow together, to evolve, and they’re letting us in on the process. It actually takes a level of self-awareness and humility to join school number 2, if you think about it.
And you know what? There were some really awesome moments, also. We liked the cover tunes, because they showed us that these three instruments really do put a twist on rock-and-roll, without sounding cheesy. We heard some of the cool sounds that made these musicians want to start this band in the first place. We watched three friends who really enjoy playing together, having a good time with the music–and it made us have a good time, too.
And isn’t that what it’s about?
So welcome to the Denver music scene, HighRaceVine. We look forward to watching the evolution.