Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Grounded Talent

Benjamin Dehr

Whatzup Features Writer

Published July 12, 2018

Heads Up! This article is 4 years old.

With just a year under their belts, local poppy-garage band Sad Gravity have established themselves, at the very least, as a band that can open up for anyone and can do so with competitive talent. Members Connor Corwin, James Valdez, and Nolan Dye take a cue out of Parquet Courts and add in a foreword by Jimmy Eat World to create “sad lyrics with upbeat music” as quoted by Dye via email.

“We overlay emotional lyrics over fast-paced, driving instrumentals,” said Dye, who plays drums for the group. “The themes are very much consciously presented and implemented.”

Though you can currently hear Sad Gravity’s music only via their Facebook page in the form of a live video, they’re working on recording an album to release later this year. They also play just about every other week at The Brass Rail, so you can enjoy getting to know their music and getting to know their live show at the same time.

This concept isn’t particularly unique to Sad Gravity, as many local bands play plenty of shows before releasing any recorded material.

“Our goal is to write music we love and travel while playing it,” Dye said. “Sharing it with people and making a career out of it. Our gear is very essential [to that]. Having nice gear that you’re comfortable with allows you to broaden your sound and creativity.”

With all the hard work that goes into reaching such feats, they’ll no doubt have a release show for their upcoming album that will showcase their effortless talents while their audience nods their heads in approval with the beat. This will most likely take place at the Rail. The bar and venue has once again bred a band that has access to its stage time and time again and helped to feed its output back into itself.

“It’s by far our favorite spot,” Dye said. “The crowd is always fantastic and receptive. There’s always new and unique music coming through there. It’s a very creative and supportive community.”

Sad Gravity’s songs are laden with falsetto and shiny, open C-chord-esque strumming. The switch off between singers Valdez and Corwin keeps the song interesting and worthwhile. Each verse is new and the vocal shifts are in place, presumably, both to enhance the allure of the music but also to let each singer add his own style and choices into the songs.

The occasional blatant hook is all the band needs to stay alive within the scene’s ever-changing preference. The band might be better suited at a punk art gallery opening featuring pen-and-ink creations, but for now, the Rail is the perfect home to keep their gray-area music alive and well.

Despite being the closing act after the local supergroup Best Sleep and touring act Faux Ferocious (a rock band from Nashville), Sad Gravity received the most applause and maintained the crowd’s interest for the entirety of their set, even though the night’s hours were waning.

It would seem that Sad Gravity’s talent matches their appeal and a group of drunk 20-somethings can both appreciate the group as artists and adore them as rockers at the same time. Their energy is more MGMT, but their response is definitely Coldplay (only the X&Y and earlier era). Maybe a more upbeat Keane is a better comparison, but even these names don’t really come close to matching the sound that SG is putting out.

While Mars Volta-worshipping guys and teen-looking hipster girls are milling around, even the crustiest punk or the pop enthusiasts are nodding their heads with the beat. It would seem that Sad Gravity is the most unlikely popular band in this fine city of ours, and that’s appropriate for all the right reasons and yet still surprising.

When listing influences like The Strokes, Tiger’s Jaw, and My Bloody Valentine, the band may sound run-of-the-mill. However, the trio is able to command their crowd and unite those of different musical backgrounds in an effortless way that makes it OK for them to play so often.

Fort Wayne’s version of Arctic Monkeys is here to stay and the release of their upcoming album will surely cement them in the bar scene for years to come. With a little support, they can continue to improve, crank out some recorded material, and gain even more respect from the scene and be allowed to do what they love for as long as they can.

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