Most people who know me, realize that this is the time of year that all my free time revolves around hockey. I’m in my 2nd year of photographing our local SPHL team for the Booster Club, & I LOVE IT! Needless to say, unless it’s something big, my weekends are full of little black plastic circles, ice, & a few fights thrown in for good measure.
Last week when I was at job #1, a co-worker told me about her friend & his awesome band. She told me I needed to check them out. It was an 1 ½ away, after a hockey game I had to cover, so I wasn’t feeling it. Then she told me who the band was. Up and coming hard rockers Year of the Locust. I recognized the name from previous coverage in our magazine, & she shared some video from the last show she was at. I’ll be the first to admit that I am lacking in the newer, & smaller venue music scene. Living in an area that caters more to a couple of music styles not on my playlist, takes it toll. I was not really familiar with their music, but what she showed me, I really liked. So I made plans for a quick impromptu interview, & prepared for a long, exciting night!
After an intense, action filled winning hockey game, I drove to the Stoney Badger Tavern in Lynchburg, VA. It’s not a big place, but it’s filled with patrons that give off a good vibe. I was able to catch the tail end of a great set from a local band called Synergy. (Great group of guys! If you get the chance to check them out I recommend it!) The corner of the tavern was then set up for Year of the Locust. Selections for the night ranged from their single released last year, “Sunrise” , & “Move On” & “Devolver” from their 2016 full length release Devolver. Their newest song, “Stay Alive” was on the set list as well.
I got my chance to learn a bit more about these guys after the show. Freddy, Scott, Outlaw, Dusty, and Chevy, come from all over the Eastern United States. and it seems like they are enjoying every minute of the ride. They were touring with Tesla, along with individual dates like this one in Lynchburg. The above mentioned song “Stay Alive”, is off of their upcoming EP. Freddy let me know that it drops March 1, & you can preorder it now. A lyric video for the song was added to their YouTube channel earlier this month as well. All of the band members also sang the praises of the fantastic guests that helped with that single in the form of Troy Lucckette of Tesla and producer / guitarist Brian Bonds from Florida Georgia Line.
The small venue had great sound, & allowed the already extremely personal and emotional style of Scott’s singing to really settle in all around. You could see on each band members face, the raw emotion that the experience of playing these songs had on them. The awesome guitar riffs expertly handled by Chevy and Outlaw, were placed at the perfect time. ( I hope that the photographs that accompany this article convey the feelings I am describing. The lighting accented the feeling but made for a lot of setting adjustments! ) Those that see music as a personal experience, like I do, can get totally immersed in the moment. This is a great band to do that with. To further involve fans in the experience, when doing a cover of Alice In Chains “Man in the Box” was done, patrons were even invited to come up and sing with them! Synergy’s Joshua Magill gladly obliged!
I am sure I am not the only one who feels music is not just something you listen to, it’s something you feel. Having sensed that this band takes this connection seriously, I asked Scott and his band mates about it, after the show. For them, storytelling is the way that they connect with the fans. Freddy told me that he does a great deal of the song writing with Scott. When describing the music, he says “Every bit of it is who we are.”
Scott added, “People deserve for you to dig deep…People deserve that. They deserve what’s really you. If you’re putting forth something that’s not really you, people are observant, they know the difference. They can see it’s not really you. people can see that. They know it’s bullshit. So we stick to what we know. …What we know and what we live. Those are our stories.”
Scott, Freddy and I continued to talk as the other band members mingled with other patrons of the Stoney Badger, as it is the perfect venue for that, with its open, yet small design. Drinks & friends were flowing. Turning back to Scott & Freddy, I knew I had hit on a topic that seemed to be the reason behind why they do things the way they do. I’m just speculating here, but it’s definitely a fundamental core. Scott made a wonderful observation. “ You could go into a bar, you could go into a public place, you tell your personal story to someone you’ve never met, & they’re gonna look at you like you’ve got ten f*@%ing heads. The one place where you can express the things that everyone can’t speak for, is there. (He pointed towards the stage area) You can get on a microphone & spill out what you really feel, & people can accept it. That’s the one place where I’m able to do that.” Freddy added, “ It’s an expression of one’s soul.”
Yeah, that got me. As my daughter used to say, all the feels.
It was wonderful talking with these guys, even though it was just a short time. It’s obvious from their live show that their songwriting is an important part of who they are as a band. It seems that they are on the verge of something big. I am just glad I have been able to catch part of the ride. If you get the chance to catch Year of the Locust, you won’t regret it. Even better, catch them in a smaller, more intimate venue, & it will be even more intense and unforgettable.
Check out these shots from the Year of the Locust show