HYPEWORTHY: RED BULL SOUND SELECT NYC
Written by Brian Bahe and Photographed by Brian Nevins
Good Charlotte was the first “punk” band I liked. Let me explain- It was 2002. The Young and the Hopeless had just been released, and I saw the music video for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” on MTV2 early one morning while getting ready for school.
This is where most people would stop me, but they don’t understand. I was thirteen. I was raised on a steady diet of Murder Inc. Records artists and that Mya song featuring Silkk the Shocker.
I don’t bother with a rebuttal because, in a way, I know you’re right. But also it’s because I don’t really want you to understand. If I’m able to convince you that at that point in my life Good Charlotte was as punk as GG Allin defecating on stage, that memory won’t be as meaningful. I want to keep this between the music gods and myself.
I’m telling you this because Saturday night was the first night I’d been to a rock and roll show in a while.
The location: New York City’s Irving Plaza. The players: New Jersey’s The Scandals, Nashville’s Frances & the Foundation, Dave Hause, and The Gaslight Anthem. The reason: Red Bull Sound Select, a program bringing well-known, established musicians together with up-and-comers to play in front of a large audience. The goal: well-deserved exposure for the up-and-comers.
TheUrbanRealist was lucky enough to sit down with the lead singers of Frances & the Machine and The Scandals to ask them what life is like as musicians on the rise.
Frances & the Foundation is a trio that plays rock and roll with a bit of Southern grit. The musicianship is top notch, and the vocals of bassist and singer Samantha Cutler make the band worth a listen.
When asked about the band’s involvement with Red Bull Sound Select, Cutler said it was “Amazing. I feel like it’s a great opportunity. I feel like we tripped and fell into it and we’re so lucky.”
In order to stay creative Cutler mentioned she reads a lot of autobiographies. “I’m actually reading a book right now called The Artist’s Way. That’s one thing I do, is try to seek out different paths that other artists have taken,” Cutler said.
When asked what she would tell her 20 year old self:
- Don’t take life too seriously.
- Believe in yourself. Listen to your intuition it’s usually right.
- Practice. Work hard at what you love.
When asked if she experienced the quarter-life crisis, Cutler enthusiastically answered:
“Yes. It was fun. It wasn’t that bad. I shaved my head at my quarter-life crisis and it was liberating and wonderful.”
Cutler also mentioned she’s a comedy fan, and enjoys going to the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village (you might recognize it from the opening credits of Louie). “Sometimes I act really goofy to just not take myself so seriously, and that helps me become creative,” Cutler added.
The Scandals played next. Loud and fast. Think gruff vocals, fast drums, and guitars that barely let the strings reverberate before it’s on to the next down stroke. Fans could be seen screaming along.
Singer and guitarist Jared Hart is a photographer in his free time. Not for pay—for that he works in a bar—purely for the creative fulfillment factor. His favorite type of photography: portraits. “I like cinematic portraits of people,” Hart said.
Hart mentioned general life experience is his major source of creativity, whether it happened to him personally or someone he knows. “I like writing about stuff I can genuinely feel.”
Hart has experienced the quarter-life crisis by proxy, since most of his friends and band members are in their thirties, but that’s caused him to think about his personal goals.
When asked what he’d tell his tell his twenty-year-old self (a time that doesn’t require him to think back too far, he’s twenty-three now), Hart said:
- It’s going to get a little easier
- Sleep less. Which I did. I virtually get no sleep.
- Things are going to happen that are going to be really cool. I never thought I would be able to sing in a band almost full time.
Dave Hause played next. Looking like an updated version of Johnny Cash—arms covered in tattoos, a plain white tee shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a tightly cropped haircut that looked as if he just got out of prison—he played a great set of songs sung to the tune of either a his acoustic or electric guitar. One of the most notable and unique aspects about his performance is his voice, which treads a fine line between raspy and beautiful.
The Gaslight Anthem closed the show. I saw them several years ago after they had just released their first full-length album, Sink or Swim. They played the songs very well, but their set wasn’t anything I would’ve recommended to anyone at the time.
This was a different story. Not only did the songs sound as good live and they do when listening to them at home with headphones, but singer and guitarist Brian Fallon developed some showmanship chops and was on some VH1 Storyteller-like vibe.
In between songs, he’d drop an anecdotal story here, and invite a crowd surfer to kick off the next song there. At one point he told how the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” came to be.
When The Gaslight Anthem played songs from Sink or Swim, it reminded me about that time I saw them in downtown Phoenix, Arizona with black X’s on the back of my hands; how seeking out new artists with a teenaged intensity was a bygone era I’m trying to restore; and Good Charlotte.
With programs like Red Bull Sound Select, audience members don’t have to worry about losing touch with emerging artists in their local music scenes.
Learn more about Red Bull Sound Select shows and how you can attend one here.