St. Gods
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St. Gods

Band Rock Punk

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"A Night at the Camel (Show Review)"

When I arrived at the show I was pretty drunk and very pissed off, so I started looking for a guy to pick a fight with. But most of the guys there looked pretty tough, so I started looking at the girls, but most of them looked pretty tough too, so I decided to just shut up and enjoy the show.

The first band up was Hold Tight!, a pretty typical pop-punk band; simple, short songs, with the instruments turned up way too loud so that the vocals are just an unintelligible mush. Nothing too special, but not that bad either. This was their first show, so I could see them getting good, but they aren’t there yet.

Next up was Drunk Hugs. They were another local pop-punk band playing their first show, but this one has Matt Seymour from Pedals On Our Pirate Ships. He’s a really fantastic front man, and he really made this band for me. Musically, they didn’t do much for me: they just fell into that sea of mediocre pop-punk bands that simply don’t impress me, but Seymour has incredible stage presence. The way he jumps and dances all over the stage and into the audience really makes them worth seeing.

Around this point, I stumbled out of The Camel and over to the Citgo across the street to buy more beer. When I got back the next band hadn’t started yet, so I wandered around outside until I found that the Post Office next door had left their gate unlocked, so I walked in there, and began inspecting the mail trucks. Slowly, I began to develop a plan:
I will steal a mail truck. I will steal a mail truck, drive through the gates, down Broad Street, and from there I’ll travel all over the country on a mail delivering spree, delivering everyone’s mail to their neighbor to the right! In order to get the mail returned to its owners, everyone will be forced to talk to their neighbors on either side! Community will be fostered! Dialogue exchanged! As communication increases, violence will drop, and as these feeling of harmony spread across the world, war will end! Peace! Love! All that hippy bullshit! Go America! Sure, they’ll arrest me eventually. But by that point, I’ll already have planted the seeds. In no time at all, they’ll recognize I’m a political prisoner, let me out of jail, and give me a Nobel Peace Prize! I’ll be just like Nelson Mandella!

Unfortunately, none of the drivers had left their keys in the ignition, and I don’t know how to hot wire a car…so I went back to the show.

Finally it was time for Folk The System from Virginia Beach, the band I’d come to see. The lead singer announced their name and the fact that they were starting, and then declared that that would be the last time they used the microphone that night. They then quickly burst into song. FTS is two guys with acoustic guitars and another with an upright bass, playing blisteringly fast folk-punk songs about revolution and love, topics which I adore. They reminded me a lot of Andrew Jackson Jihad, but with early Defiance, Ohio style vocals. I love both those bands, so FTS really blew me away. I can’t say with complete certainty which songs they played because I only have their first EP, but I believe they played most of it. My one complaint is that because they refused to use mics it was pretty difficult to hear the vocals. I was standing right in front, but so many people were talking loudly throughout their set, that I still had trouble hearing them.

After their set, I chugged a few beers I didn’t need in the alley, and unsuccessfully tried to work up the confidence to hit on that hot girl from my class (who’d have guessed she’s secretly a punk?!) before St. Gods came on.

I’m hesitant to describe St. Gods as a punk band; they certainly have a lot of punk influence, but they sound like an indie band at heart. It’s like someone re-mixed Modest Mouse and added a lot of distortion. I mean that in the best possible way; I love Modest Mouse, and I love distortion, and they were definitely a great band to end on. They ended the show on a really great note, and I loved the contrast between the all acoustic FTS and St. Gods’ electric-with lots of effects style. St. Gods is definitely a band that’s worth seeing/listening to if you get the chance. - Magazine 33


"Titus and Drunkenness- Your ear's life is over (Show Review)"

Titus Andronicus exploded onto the national muisc scene last April after receiving a glowing 8.5 rating of their first LP, The Airing of Grievances, from Pitchforkmedia.com. Since then, the band has been in constant motion, playing the Pitchfork Music Festival in July, touring the country over the summer, and even venturing on a European tour from February to March. Just four short days after their last show in Paris, on March 15, Titus Andronicus, along with Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson and locals St. God’s Hospital, played at Is venue in Charlottesville.

Openers St. God’s Hospital played an impressive set. This band is the full-scale incarnation of U.Va. third-year Caleb L’Etoile’s most recent songwriting ventures. Abrasive but ear-catching vocals and melodies, and a loud, in-your-face, but still tight arrangement made it easy to be captivated by the sound springing off the stage.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson’s set did not go nearly as smoothly. Accompanied only by bassist Will ___ and violinist/multi-instrumentalist Marquez Toliver, Robinson pounded out a row of songs that had clearly been only loosely rehearsed with his touring band. Over the course of his forty-minute set he broke three guitar strings. In explanation, he offered, “It must be the first show of the tour, I’m not bored yet.” It is safe to say that Robinson’s performance did not have the same self-scathing magic that his record has. Without the fleshed out, multi-tracked voices, keys and percussion, the performance seemed more like a rehearsal, though at times Robinson’s honest songwriting did shine through.

Loud, messy, joyful, and noisy, Titus Andronicus was everything we could have hoped it would be. Did I mention loud? Hearing Titus Andronicus play is akin to being flattened by a semi-truck of noise. For the hour or so during their set, I forgot that silence isn’t usually accompanied by guitar feedback. Only adding to the mess, singer and songwriter Patrick Stickles was visibly wasted throughout the show. His harmonica playing frequently ended with him on the floor, spilling beer on his guitar pedals.

Quite honestly, the joyful mess they created bordered on overdone. The fuzzy mixing on their record was even muddier live, and it was hard to hear the melody—harmonica, vocals, and keys—over the wall of guitar. Patrick’s vocals, triumphantly messy on record, were out of time and tune frequently in his drunken state. They pulled it off, but with too much more it would have been unpleasant.

Titus Andronicus is a band of the scale that has been missing from Charlottesville since the Satellite Ballroom closed. It was refreshing to see a show that everyone in the audience was excited about, that truly had the ability to blow us away. By the look of things, the new Is venue (aka the old Starr Hill) will be a promising enticement for mid-sized bands to set foot in Charlottesville. If this show confirmed anything, it’s that we have much to look forward to from this venue.

Rob Froetscher is a second-year who will be deaf by 25, pregnant by 24. Coincidence? - The Declaration


"Dismantling the DiVide"

It is a frustratingly frequent observation ‘round here at The Declaration that there is an unusual divide between local Charlottesville culture and that of the University. To see the dilemma in full-scale, consider the fact that though there are 12,000 undergraduates here during the winter, and it makes little difference to show turnout whether the event occurs during the academic year or outside of it. It seems to me, sometimes, that it has become part of our unofficial mission to connect the University to downtown. Thankfully, we are not the only force working towards this end. There are a whole slew of U.Va. students who not only participate in the Charlottesville music scene, but are actually part of it. The following are some of our favorite U.Va. affiliated artists who frequently play around town.

Andrew Cedermark
After graduation, U.Va. and Declaration alumnus Andrew Cedermark toured briefly with shoegaze buzz-band Titus Andronicus. This summer, a little less than a year after leaving town, Cedermark quit Titus Andronicus, returned to Charlottesville, and started playing his own music at local venues. His songs, always soaked with reverb, distortion, and experimentation, somehow still remain catchy, relevant and overall fantastic listening. And, as he was featured on Pitchfork’s Forkcast and is currently scheduled to open for artists like Real Estate, we are clearly not the only ones who think he is great. His next show in Charlottesville, now with a full band, will be October 15th.

The Hill and Wood
It is undeniable that Sam Bush, co-founder of local venue The Garage, frontman for The Hill and Wood, and U.Va. graduate, is a fantastic songwriter. The Hill and Wood’s songs are filled with captivating melodies, precise and beautiful harmonies, gentle acoustic countermelodies, and lyrics that could not match the whole aesthetic better. I recently stumbled upon YouTube videos of them performing at WNRN and was blown away. These guys play around town less than some of the other bands mentioned, but it would be a treat to see them live, so keep an eye out.

Tyger & The Lamb
Fronted by recent U.Va. graduate Jason Farr, The Tyger & the Lamb are a five piece alt-country influenced band that you will find frequently playing shows around Charlottesville. Farr’s contemplative-but-still-poppy songwriting is enhanced by the always fleshed-out lineup and clever arrangements. Though they recently lost a bassist, it seems they plan to continue playing, with a show scheduled for late October.

Bear War
Bear War is a two-piece electro-pop outfit consisting of U.Va. fourth-year Stephen Walthall and recent graduate Pete Nagraj. Started this summer, Bear War has already made quite an impression. They’ve played four shows already and have been cited by local booker and promoter Jacob Wolf as playing one of his favorite debut shows.

Your Spirit Animal in the Unreal City
Specializing in experimentation and sonic exploration, Your Spirit Animal in the Unreal City is the only band on this list that features exclusively U.Va. students. Though current fourth-year music major Max Dreyer and recent graduate Philip Collender write songs which I would call fantasy/rock/experimental, it is self-described as sounding like, “the flapping wings of a thousand cranes,” or “the sweat of a squirming paper myrmidon.” Dreyer, who hails from Charlottesville, was part of then-local-favorites Love Tentacle Drip Society in high school, who were also known for their own bizarre brand of experimental rock.

St. Gods
Started last year as the full-band incarnation of fourth-year Caleb L’Etoile’s songwriting ventures, St. Gods is more a collective of musicians than a regular band. At times performing with as many as six musicians and at times as few as two, seeing St. God’s always promises an interesting show. Arrangement is straightforward but powerful and L’Etoile’s songwriting is always good. The outfit’s first few songs were actually written as part of a songwriting class L’Etoile took at U.Va. St. Gods Hospital will play in Charlottesville next on September 20th.

Benelatac Enelisiopotenel sisi renevenen yppatah. - The Declaration


Discography

'Young Money' LP in progress

Photos

Bio

St. Gods came from D.C. bands such as Stolen Arms, the Black Powder, and Fine Lines. It began as a folk project between Cory and Caleb. Justin started playing guitar and the songs went from kind of slow and kind of soft to fast and loud. It likes energy, whiskey, and psych-freak outs. It has played with bands like Titus Andronicus, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Lost in the Trees, and Teenage Coolkids. It loves D.I.Y. It most likely hates 3/5 of your favorite things

What people think of St. Gods:

"I’m hesitant to describe St. Gods as a punk band; they certainly have a lot of punk influence, but they sound like an indie band at heart. It’s like someone re-mixed Modest Mouse and added a lot of distortion. I mean that in the best possible way; I love Modest Mouse, and I love distortion, and they were definitely a great band. St. Gods is definitely a band that’s worth seeing/listening to if you get the chance." Ratso for Magazine 33

"...they’re good. It sounds like only the rock&roll parts of early Bright Eyes, minus the cloying cutesyness. Maybe a little early Built to Spill in there, as well. It’s worthwhile...They could also be categorized as a degree of punk; they sound heavily influenced by Modest Mouse and I mean that in a good way."-Nailgun Media

"Started last year as the full-band incarnation of fourth-year Caleb L’Etoile’s songwriting ventures, St. Gods is more a collective of musicians than a regular band. At times performing with as many as six musicians and at times as few as two, seeing St. God’s always promises an interesting show. Arrangement is straightforward but powerful and L’Etoile’s songwriting is always good. "-The Declaration

"Openers St. God’s Hospital played an impressive set. This band is the full-scale incarnation of U.Va. third-year Caleb L’Etoile’s most recent songwriting ventures. Abrasive but ear-catching vocals and melodies, and a loud, in-your-face, but still tight arrangement made it easy to be captivated by the sound springing off the stage."-The Declaration