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SXSW 2008 has ended
Wednesday, March 12 • 9:15pm - 9:45pm
Abigail Warchild

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Somewhere along the way in music’s constant transition, we forgot that the vacant area in front of stage is the ghost of a place where fans would previously dance around and bump into one another. And before our current music icons taught us that it was cool to feel sorry for ourselves (and sing about it), we’d go to shows clean and come home sweaty and inspired. Even now, at a show when a rare band keeps the BPM’s above heartbeat level, show goers consistently stand aloof, seemingly removed from even the most upbeat performances. Knowing this all to well, Abigail Warchild is a band that bring forth heavy songs and a stage presence that leaves onlookers little choice but to turn their bobbing into banging and actually take part in the show at hand. Abigail Warchild is a band of friends that never leave questions to how much they enjoy playing their music and have recently been inspiring the “who were those guys” question all over the East Coast. With a strong musical background coming from influences both classic and contemporary, Abigail use their talents to build songs that always explode into what you hope they will. To do so, they develop tracks with a thundering kick drum, controlled feedback, and moving vocals that pay off with geometric chaos layered atop one of the strongest rhythm sections you’ve seen since 1990-something. Abigail Warchild is a band that preemptively combat the emotional stasis in music with songs that rock hard enough to make you wish you still had long hair but emotionally complex enough to recall that your emo values. The band truly adds a dynamic absent from our current catalogues and venues. All of this is not to upbraid the knots that tie together independent music with popular culture, or to overanalyze a squandering industry, but within a chaotic time in music, rather than complain about it all, Abigail Warchild respond with an appropriate elevation in reverb, anthemic chanting, and steadfast, pounding rhythms. Through an unquestionably upbeat voice in some of the usual haunts (Pianos, Middle East, Mercury Lounge, etc), Abigail create “well-written tunes [that] walk the line between stony and lean with equal parts agility and recklessness" (Time Out New York). The band was developed in Boston when guitarist and vocalist Mike Sanders came together with bassist and resident artist Michael Hart. They quickly added keyboardist Sean Davenport while still in Boston, and culminated when moving to Brooklyn in 2006 and inviting guitarist Val Loper and drummer Mike Ushinski to join. Sitting and chatting with these boys, one might accept the “Abigail” and “child” part of their name but it is not until they deliver a fully developed combustion like “The Dive” that you will understand where the war-mongering side comes from. As these songs payoff, crowds beginning swirling and jumping but in all honesty, off-stage is the safest place to be at one of these boisterous performances (assuming you aren’t looking for a Fender-induced concussion). These guys truly lay it all out on stage, and somehow, they simultaneously maintain a noticeably controlled, smooth and even groovy sound. In the influence category, Mike(s) and Co. channel their sound from some unique sources. The parts that drive the collective characteristic of these guys are almost as unique as they appear on stage. There are hints of Black Sabbath’s distorted destruction soothed by the bluesy keys that Sean Davenport learned listening to records with his father as a child. Garnishing the already powerful structure, Abigail favor the sounds that produced cult-like followings for indie constituents/creators like The Pixies, Drive Like Jehu, Dinosaur Jr., and Slint. Furthermore, bassist Mike Hart (I call him #2….and now he’s going to kill me) says that many of the bands that inspired him were ones that he was “psyched on from skate videos.” And listening to Ushinski pound drums to “When You’re Awake” will make you wish that you could ollie stairs in your vintage shoes. Musically, the boys honed their crafts in equally diverse places like Berklee College of Music and small venues in the Boston area with previous bands like Officer May (Ace Fu), who grew from Boston venues to nation wide tours (Mike Sanders, aka Mike 1), Stricken For Catherine and Barbera (Mike Ushinkski, 3) In Pieces, Bear Hands (Val Loper, aka Val), and some other punk bands that they forget the names of (Sean, and Mike 2). And because of these technical and hardcore backgrounds, Abigail adorn a strong musical foundation with a punk rock ethic. Watching the boys perform is only upstaged by their interaction in their minivan-turned-tour bus. The scaling tone of the close friend’s conversation is mimicked in the building and exploding, in-depth analysis of just about anything, and sometime tongue-in-cheek chuckling sound that characterize Abigail songs. It is this cohesion of personalities and influences that drive Mike (times 3), Sean, and Val’s music. These guys combine things that are rare in music: being great people and musicians; understanding music fundamentals and having good taste; and oddly enough, Abigail Warchild has the capacity to put some great tracks on an album and back them up with memorable (and potentially dangerous) live shows. They recently joined Family Business’ distribution for the release of “The Edit” which is available on Itunes and at http://www.virb.com/abigailwarchild.
http://2008.sxsw.com/music/showcases/band/71659.html

Wednesday March 12, 2008 9:15pm - 9:45pm
Dirty Dog Bar 505 E 6th St

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