Sound & Vision PHOTOS BY A.J. SCHARA
“We don’t support that kind of thing,” bassist Timmy Kosel said, shaking his head. “It’s not what we stand for,” agreed Gummeson.
@ the Fine Line
The Vaudevillian Take Over By Kelsey Schwartz
On Friday, February 8, Vaudeville played their spring farewell show at the Fine Line Music Cafe before heading out on tour, which will weave them through the Midwest, from Chicago all the way down to Saint Louis. They played to a packed house, their second sold-out show at the Fine Line in just under a year. Opening to an excited crowd that literally glowed in the dark, thanks to dozens of glow sticks that were handed out prior to the start of the concert. Having seen them perform before without glow sticks, I couldn’t resist asking what they meant. “It brings everyone together,” said Christopher Gummeson, the lead singer and keyboardist for the band. “It’s an affordable way to show our unity.” As soon as their feet hit the stage, Vaudeville had the crowd hooked. They kicked off the show with their song “Vendetta,” which is also the title of their second and most recent album, released last June. Each song flowed effortlessly into the next, allowing Gummeson to step from the fog and lure one into believing that they were standing in a multi-million dollar venue and not just the Fine Line downtown. Each member connected with the crowd in his own way, making the performance enthralling from any angle or distance. Combine this with a light and laser display that Muse would be envious of, and you have found yourself in a full-blown rock concert that would make anyone want to throw a fist into the air. Yet Vaudeville surprised everyone in the crowd that night when they stopped in the middle of their song “Hide Away” to break up a fight that had started near the stage. Many people in the audience claimed it to be a publicity stunt, but I was assured by the band that it wasn’t.
They thought it was ironic though, in that it happened right when they normally pause to pump up the crowd. Contrary to the current trend in alternative rock bands, Vaudeville sounds exactly the same live as they do on their album. The band avoids over-editing or using massive amounts of Auto-Tune in efforts to cover up less-than-perfect vocals or subpar instrumentals. There is no reason for them to; all five members are true musicians, and it would be a waste of talent if they did. Within their most recent album, Vendetta, keyboard and guitar combine in a hypnotic rhythm and the haunting lyrics are open to any interpretation that the listener wants to make. Each song is unique in its own captivating way and their musical range is more than impressive. That is difficult to achieve, especially for an up-and-coming rock band.
with some of the prize money and I am pretty sure it is making more money the we do.” Being label-less, Vaudeville and a handful of close friends organize, run, and plan every single aspect of the band. They handle everything from lights and publicity to booking venues and selling tickets. “It’s tough, but it makes us stronger as friends and band mates,” Kosel said, looking at the rest of the band. “And really it’s all for that hour on that stage,” Sugar said. What it boils down to is that Vaudeville is a band that goes to infinity and beyond for its music and fans, putting their sweat, blood and tears into everything they do. They have not only proven their worth in the growing music scene in Minneapolis, but they have also laid claim to a coveted spot at Rockfest in Wisconsin this summer, further solidifying that the Vaudevillian takeover has begun.
Since the release of their second album, Vaudeville has seen their fan base nearly double. Back in 2007, when Chris Schara, one of the two guitarists in Vaudeville, and Gummeson started messing around with the idea of putting a band together, the road to finding the right members was a bumpy one. Through many searches, a few kick –outs, a few re-entries, and member switches between locals bands, Vaudeville came to be what it is now: Gummeson on keys and vocals, Schara and A.J. Sugar on guitar, Kosel on bass and John Olson on drums. “I was kicked out of the band at one point,” Schara said with a chuckle, “but then I kind of forced my way back in.” Knowing all that they went through before landing on the current lineup, it is not surprising that the band is as close as they are now. This last October, Vaudeville won Rawkzilla and pocketed ten grand in prize money, which they spent as soon as they got it. “None of us get any money from being in the band,” Schara said. “All the money we make goes back into the band itself. We bought a van