screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Avid Dancer

Avid Dancer at The Sinclair in Cambridge 10/20/15

Every once in a while, and it’s awkward to say the least, you show up to a heavily hyped and sold out show — to see the opener. Such was the case for me on Tuesday night when I arrived at The Sinclair to see Avid Dancer. I had heard about, listened to and really liked this Los Angeles band, and they were partway through a big national tour. They were the supporting band for BØRNS, an artist who currently has a HUGE buzz and a rabid growing audience which I completely respect but who, for me, is the sonic equivalent of eating too much candy corn in one sitting. So with profound apologies to his completely over-the-moon audience last night, I’ll move on to Avid Dancer, a band that quite simply stole my heart.

It actually helps to have the contrast with BØRNS to highlight just what it was that made Avid Dance so special for me. Music is terribly subjective, of course. This is why I never “review” bands, but I’m inspired to share those that touch and inspire me. For myself, when I listen to a piece of music, I’m always looking for a certain amount of gravitas, a sense of somber or at least serious reflection. In my humble opinion, joyous celebration loses some importance without also experiencing the flip-side of the coin. In terms of this deeper meaning, I seek it out in everything from folk music to hardcore, from singer-songwriter ballads to instrumentals. Introspection doesn’t even require lyrics; it can be heard within the music.

Avid Dancer’s music is solemn and sophisticated, but never grim. There’s a hopeful optimism born out of life’s trials and tribulations.

“Throw away all things not worth living
Open your eyes and start believing”

“Find your joy today // Don’t have to look so hard // Don’t have to look so far
Try to be one way // Just be who you are.”

– All Your Words Are Gone

Avid Dancer caresses the ears with joyous, melodic guitar and life-affirming rhythm, and the band overflows with sensuality and soul. You can hear it in their debut album 1st Bath, but it completely envelops you in their live show. Dreamy, slightly psychedelic and with Jacob Summer’s honey-smooth vocals, I would argue that they’re just as much the ideal “date night band” as the overtly romantic and sentimental BØRNS.

Summer’s down-to-earth banter was quite heartwarming as well and dovetailed nicely with the band’s genuine and passionate music. It sounds funny and maybe a little ridiculous to say this, but knowing his background as a Marine, I found his gentle demeanor and the vulnerability in his lyrics somewhat surprising. Hey, ex-marines can be sensitive guys, and why the hell not?

Avid Dancer will be continuing their tour with BØRNS on November 10, beginning in Canada and moving through the Midwest and West Coast. See their tour schedule for details. And go see them! You’ll be glad you did.

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Introducing… Avid Dancer

Photo Credit: Cara Robbins

Photo Credit: Cara Robbins

Looking for a little romance? It’s nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of, and you can indulge in your heart’s yearning free of judgement or shame with the latest single “I Feel It” by Los Angeles’ Avid Dancer. What better time to enjoy a song like this than in these waning lighthearted and carefree days of summer?

“She is love, she is love,
more than anyone I know.
She feels like the first time.
And love is big as the ocean,
I feel it in the bottom of my heart.
I feel it in the bottom of my soul.”

– I Feel It

The project of Venice Beach-based Jacob Dillan Summers (as romantic a name and location as I think a person can have), Avid Dancer released their hazy, dreamy and quite accomplished debut album 1st Bath earlier this year on Grand Jury Music, to big raves. Musically it reads like a soft psychedelic daydream, and even on “All Your Words Are Gone,” amidst the slightly wistful tone there is honest, sagely advise with a sense of optimistic hope, instantly believable thanks to Summers’ angelic vocals. Lovely. The band will be joining BØRNS for a national tour this autumn, and will also be performing with tUnE-yArDs as part of KCRW’s Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier.

It really is true that you can’t tell a book from its cover. The soft, delicate and dreamy vocals of Avid Dancer emanate from ex-Marine and drum corps champion Jacob Dillan Summers, and he’s joined on his debut by many friends that include Raymond Richards on vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion; Ozzy Carmona on guitar and keyboards; Eric Hargett on saxophone; Franck Fiser and Brian Marquez on drums; Adrian Rodriguez on bass and keyboards and Kaitlin Wolfberg on violin and vocals.

Summers started playing drums in high school and won two national championships playing the snare in a drum and bugle corps. He ended up joining the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps for four years as a platoon guide. This unique history comes through in the unusual inspiration and starting point for his songs. As he told MIX in an interview, “When I first started playing guitar to write songs, I seriously thought I was creating new chords,” he says. “I use the drums to make sections in the songs, to structure the songs so a first-time listener can hear the song and feel comfortable. Now when I get to the drums, I try and make them as simple as possible so they just mimic the other parts.” He also has an audio engineering degree, which gives him the luxury of being able to create demos that are closer to his vision than most songwriters are able to do.

If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, Avid Dancer will likely be coming to a city near you very soon!

Avid Dancer On Tour

Sept 10th – Santa Monica, CA – KCRW’s Twilight Concert Series, Santa Monica Pier ^
Sept 20th – Sacramento, CA – TBD Fest
Oct 6th – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar *
Oct 8th – Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
Oct 9th – Houston, TX – Walter’s Downtown *
Oct 10th – Austin, TX – Stubb’s Jr. *
Oct 15th – Washington, D.C – Rock & Roll Hotel *
Oct 17th – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *
Oct 19th – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom *
Oct 20th – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair *
Oct 21st – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church *
Nov 10th – St-Lambert, Canada – Petit Campus *
Nov 11th – Toronto, Canada – Horseshoe Tavern *
Nov 14th – Chicago, IL – Double Door *
Nov 15th – Davenport, IA – The Village Theater *
Nov 18th – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile *
Nov 19th – Vancouver, Canada – Fortune Sound Club *
Nov 20th – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios *
Nov 22nd – San Francisco, CA – The Independent *
Nov 23rd – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre *
Nov 24th – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern *

^ = with tUnE-yArDs
* = with BØRNS

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