O Youth
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O Youth

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Rock Folk

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A lineup that included some of Knoxville's most heralded local bands shared the stage for a good cause Saturday night at Rage Fest.

Opening up with the Chattanooga-based quartet Endelouz at 5 p.m., live music could be heard emanating from The Hill until the early hours of the morning. The $5 wristband bought audience members the chance to see Backup Planet, Ben & the Stoop Kids, Johnny Astro and the Big Bang, Smooth Operationz, O Youth, Swingbooty and Oroboro take the stage back to back.

"It's awesome to see so many bands playing under one roof" Jonathan Burkhalter, junior in history said. "The energy is great and everyone has performed really well musically. Johnny Astro was especially on point."

Jimmy Russell, a senior in psychology and one of the event's organizers, agreed that all the bands were terrific, but thought the night's award for standout performance was owed to O Youth.

"I thought the spectacle of O Youth's performance was fantastic," Russell said. "They were all about making sure the crowd was having the best time with balloons and fire. Their performance was the closest to a Flaming Lips show I've ever seen, and all that from a local band."

Audience members scored some free band memorabilia as well.

"Bands have handed out free CDs and there's a lot of great music to be heard" Sarah Johnson, freshman in microbiology, said. "I just love this environment and the fact that it's all for a charity is pretty awesome."

Proceeds of the evening went toward creating scholarships for children to attend The Camp Koinonia, an outdoor education program for people with disabilities, ages 7-22.

It's a pretty amazing program," Russell said. "Ben Gaines is involved with it and really put this all together as a fundraiser."

Gaines, a senior in mechanical engineering, was inspired to conceptualize Rage Fest after his experiences working with an autistic boy with Down syndrome at the camp.

"He worked with this 16-year-old kid he called King Coby who had never been outside of his house before," Russell said. "It was the first time he really had any interaction with the outside world and he was terrified at first, but Ben helped him get out of his shell. I think that's incredible."

Beyond a fun night out seeing local bands play, Russell thought Rage Fest was a great way to make a real, concrete difference in the lives of kids like King Coby.

"The camp is pretty expensive to maintain and therefore pretty expensive to attend," he said. "We're providing scholarships so that kids who wouldn't have been able to afford it can go and have the time of their lives. It feels so good to help raise money for something that's so tangible."

Russell said that he and Gaines plan on making philanthropic shows similar to Rage Fest a staple event in Knoxville's local music scene.

"Rage Fest was our first big event and despite the weather interfering a bit, it's gone pretty well," he said. "Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. We're trying to do house shows pretty much every weekend for the rest of the semester."

A Halloween festival is also currently in the works.

"Right now we're planning to have a show at RT's on Friday and are currently working on a house location for Saturday night," Russell said. "We're going to make Halloween spectacular.

"It feels great to have found a way to combine the music, the parties and the philanthropy." - The Daily Beacon


“O Youth! The strength of it, the faith of it, the imagination of it!” novelist Joseph Conrad insists in his autobiographical short story “Youth”. The phrase “O Youth” is common in English literature, and the belief in the power and beauty of youth is the basis for all the songs and goals of Knoxville’s Doom Folk / Art Punk band O Youth.

While all six of its members are East Tennessee natives, five are currently transplanted to Middle Tennessee State University and Belmont pursuing knowledge in music performance and audio production. These kids enjoy both fruit snacks and good cinema, and while many of them have been friends for years, they only recently formed their permanent lineup as of November 2011. Brad Fugate, Zach Gilleran, Travis Bigwood, and Zoë Nutt all graduated from high schools in Knox County, later meeting Will Houston of Athens, TN and Matthew Campbell of Chattanooga, TN in college. Their music ranges from alt country train stomps and four part harmonies to rock and roll story songs and classic guitar solos. With plenty of songs of learning and even more songs of hope, O Youth is excited to have a great time with you. - Dogwood Arts Festival


O Youth has made quite a name for itself within the local music scene throughout the past few months, and for good reason. Recently, this group of youngsters made it to the finals of the Sound Off, a six month competition that takes place at the Square Room on Market Square. Now, they have released their first EP, simply titled “Arts.” For those who are unfamiliar with what the band’s self-proclaimed art punk/doom folk sound may sound like, simply speaking, the group draws equal parts from indie and americana to create a delicate co-mingling between the multiple genres.



If you are a fan of Conor Oberst, namely his more recent Bright Eyes releases such as “Cassadaga” or “The People's Keys,” it is hard to imagine that you would not be a fan of this EP. The style especially comes through in “Second Helpings,” a song that is encompassed in a steadfast, vintage folk-rock/country sound. Other portions of the album, though, have more of an electric, full band sound, which suggests influences from bands in other genres.

Front man Brad Fugate has that same unrefined, rugged crackle to his voice that have made Oberst’s vocals so memorable, which in turn makes the music that O Youth has created stand out from the ranks of other indie musicians. Much like the vocals, O Youth’s lyrics are raw as well as thoughtfully written. Their songs are filled with a healthy blend of hopefulness and cynicism, and the lyrics share wise words given that the band is so young. Instead of telling specific, detailed stories with their lyrics, though, they instead supply only vague chunks, giving you only a few pieces of the puzzle and allowing you to fill in the remaining parts with your own imagination.

Having band members that have not yet even completed their teenage years, you can bet that there is a definite sense of youthfulness that is brought to the table. But for being so young, “Arts” has a certain old-soul quality about it that is undeniably rich and certainly deserving of a place in anyone’s CD collection. - Blank News


The lineup for the final round of the Square Room's Sound Off competition has been set with O Youth's convincing victory in last night's qualifying round. The six-piece band's three-song set of rackety, off-kilter indie rock, drawing equally on Arcade Fire and Bright Eyes (and a rackety, off-kilter cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'") beat out Hey OK Fantastic, Folk Soul Revival, Camillo the Ocean, and Earth Quaker.

O Youth (who officially hail from Murfreesboro but have at least a few Knoxville members) will join Sons of the Southside, King Super and the Excellents, Soulfinger, and Lipliplip Hands in the final round on Wednesday, March 7, at 8 p.m. Each band will perform two original songs and a cover by an artist to be announced by the organizers. The winner gets an opening slot on an upcoming AC Entertainment concert and free gear, merch, and studio time. - Metro Pulse, Knoxville


O Youth is an aptly named band. The collection of mostly Knoxville natives (all but one graduated from Halls High School) sing songs about the trials of early adulthood. What differentiates the young band is its marriage of Americana—in the group’s rhythmic, strummy acoustic guitars, bluesy electric riffs, and everyman vocals—with the universal tenets of rock ’n’ roll: love, rebellion, and questions. The band, very much in the same vein of folk-rock as Mumford and Sons and Bright Eyes, draws inspiration from Manchester Orchestra, Bob Dylan, and the folk scenes in Seattle and Portland, according to lead singer Brad Fugate. (Fugate says he’s heard the band referred to as doom-folk, which sounds pretty cool.)

Fugate still spends a lot of time in Murfreesboro—he’s studying audio production at Middle Tennessee State University—but gets back to Knoxville, where the rest of the band members live, at least three or four times every month. The band is set to start recording its debut album next week. - Metro Pulse, Knoxville


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"They were all about making sure the crowd was having the best time with balloons and fire. Their performance was the closest to a Flaming Lips show I've ever seen, and all that from a local band." - Jimmy Russell (Local Promoter and Organizer)

"What differentiates the young band is its marriage of Americana—in the group’s rhythmic, strummy acoustic guitars, bluesy electric riffs, and everyman vocals—with the universal tenets of rock ’n’ roll: love, rebellion, and questions." - Paige Huntoon (Metro Pulse, Writer)

"Their songs are filled with a healthy blend of hopefulness and cynicism, and the lyrics share wise words given that the band is so young." Alec Cunningham (Blank News, Writer)

"O Youth has the ability to tell a story in a really cool way." - Benny Smith (WUTK, General Manager)

"O Youth should be a blueprint to other bands for what it's like to be a band." - Eric Nowinski (Rock Snob Records, Owner)

"I love the attention to detail in the entire performance." - Chyna Brackeen (Attack Monkey, President)