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The best kept secret in music


"'We're Not a Damn Carnival' confirms winning band's talent"

Their name is random yet thought-provoking, as is the title of their new album, just like any other modern sub-genre of rock. Which of course, they're absolutely not.

Avenue's new self-released album, "We're not a Damn Carnival," catches you off guard from the very start.

"Halleljah" starts right in with a drumbeat and the strong voice of the lead singer, no long guitar intro that leaves you hanging. The whole album could be described as origional, if I had to do it in just one word. The songs range from slow to fast, and the styles are so pleasantly, suprisingly diverse.

Listening to the CD, especially for the first time, is like biting into a cupcake you like and discovering it has your favorite filling inside, each new song a cupcake of music.

I sat down with themembers of this local band--Ahem! These Northridge High graduates won the 2008 Weber State Battle of the Bands--and talked to them about the evolution of Avenue from a whim to the recent release of this , the group's first album.

Geoph Clemmons (lead guitar, vocals, guitar, trumpet, keyboard, and accordian), Simon Langford (lead guitar, backup vocals), Micah Hasset (bass) and Josh Vallejos (drums) talked about their band in Ogden before a rehersal for a show.

The group began as Vallejos, of Ogden, and Clemmons, of South Weber, jamming together for fun after school. Later, they met Hasset, of South Weber, through a friend, and Langford, of Sunset, through a guitar class.

The group's influences run gamut: classical music, ABBA, The Shins, "Fiddler on the Roof", Janis Joplin, any Tim Burton movies, and the band Streetlight Manifest, just to name a few. All in all, these musicans say they try their hardest to keep their performances essentially, well, theirs.

All of "Avenue's" songs are stories. Langfors said, with a hint of dispondancy and disgust, that many songs today focus "too much on the rhyming" and not enough on the meaning of the song, so Avenue tries to avoid that and focus on the story.

"Awesome" was the first word used to describe how the guys felt anout the release of their album. They're all feeling happy and fulfilled to see their labor nearing fruit. (You can buy the album for $10 at shows or by visiting www.myspace.com/avenuerocketh.)

It was hard for the guys to describe which of the album's tracks were their favorite, but in the end, they were all able to pick.

Clemmons had to say "Macabre," because "it's the easiest to go crazy to...it took the longest to write" but came together well. Langford picked "Apollinox," "because you don't get it!" That made everyone laugh. Hasset's choice was "Claws" because of the catchy tune and bass line, and Vallejos' favorite is "The Airplane Song", for its drumbeat.

But just because this group is happy about the album doesn't make them complacent. The guys of Avenue want to go "all the way," in Clemmons' words, or "as far as we can," says Vallejos. Langford said, only half jokingly, "Famous as (in) ... we want to get offered to play the Super Bowl, bt turn it down."

The album will soon have you tapping your feet, bobbing your head, whatever you do. I began thinking of the lyrics in calss, like any other song on my iPod, after just two days of listening to the album.

Avenue is a good band to see if you want to catch a local show and support local music. While this group has made it clear "We're not a Damn Carnival,", its album is a worthwhileinvestment for any music lover. For anyone who wants music that is out of the ordinary, this is a very pleasant suprise.

Lindsey Larson is a junior at Roy High School. E-mail her at chocolate.anonymous.19@hotmail.com. - Standard-Examiner


We're Not A Damn Carnival, 2008
Some tracks available on MySpace



Be it punk, jazz, gypsy, blues, alternative, indie, ska, swing, or even tango; Avenue offers its fans an ever-changing, ever-evolving experience. Founded by four long time friends in 2005, the band preaches an undying belief in originality. Avenue refuses to subscribe to any one genre, instead branching across many different styles of music to create a very unique, fun, and high energy experience. Fans of Avenue have come to expect this exciting and interactive experience from the shows, and are never disappointed.

The band is comprised of five members. Geoph Clemmons is the main creative genius behind the music of the band. His musical ability far exceeds his years. The music of Avenue has a maturity that one would expect from a much more seasoned musician. Geoph also sings the lead vocals, plays guitar, trumpet, piano, and accordion for the band. In a performance, his energy is easily transferred to the audience, and the people in attendance cannot help but have a good time.

Simon Langford works very closely with Geoph in writing the music for Avenue. Geoph comes to Simon with frequently nebulous ideas for music, and then Simon helps put those ideas into a more solid form. He plays lead guitar as well as sings backup vocals. Simon brings a joviality to the performances that is always loved by fans, as well as providing incredible guitar solos. His ability to read audiences and tailor performances to them is an indispensable gift.

Dena Brady joined the band in 2008. She sings all female vocals (being the only female member of the band), plays the viola, and piano/keyboard, and also acts as the band manager. The band regularly tells her that she needs to chill out, and stop the insanity that is her continual stressing, but she would like to remind the rest of the band that her stressing is the reason that anything gets done! And she is not particularly into writing about herself—so that is all that will be said.

Micah Hassett is the bassist for the band. His musical style and attitude help create the synergy that Avenue possesses. This is due largely to the fact that his musical style was shaped during the Avenue formative years. He has the ability to be exactly what the band requires of him. He is particularly quick in learning a new song, or jumping right in to play with one of those “nebulous” musical ideas that come up so frequently.

The drummer of Avenue, Tyler Robbins, is a new addition to Avenue. Right from the start, everyone knew that he would be a valuable member of the team. He has an amazing adaptable ability and a feel for what each song requires both in spirit and in volume. His tight rhythms and solid drumming style are a bridge that allows the stories of the Avenue music to be told, while making the music danceable and fun.

Each of the members of Avenue is a gifted musician who might have sought a musical career individually, but in this case, Avenue is greater than the sum of its parts. In 2005 they set out to start making music that both stemmed from and combined each of their personal preferences and knowledge of music into something totally new. They played their first show, the Sunset City Battle of the Bands, in 2006. As will surely be no surprise to Avenue fans, the band took first place playing original versions of songs that have since become Avenue classics such as “Wound up Dead”, and “Jimmy the Nut Job”. Since that time, Avenue has competed in seven more battles, winning first place in six. Avenue has become a pillar of the developing Ogden City music scene participating in the Ogden Arts Festival for the last three years, the Ogden City Harvest Moon Festival for the last two, and frequent “live-music” venues in the area. They have also played for many Salt Lake City events and in many venues including The Avalon Theatre, Kilby Court, the X-96 Live and Local Show, At The Venue, The Circuit, SHO, and others. They have also won many fans in Idaho and were able to perform in The Knitting Factory in Boise. Their unique, danceable style has won them a large, solid, and diverse fan base, and they continue to draw crowds of fans wherever and whenever they perform.

To the delight of fans, after 3 years of intensive writing, re-writing, searching, polishing, and performing, Avenue self-produced its first full-length album, "We're Not a Damn Carnival", in September 2008. A second album is already in the works, and will be released in 2009.