The Almost

The Almost

All Get Out, Makeshift Prodigy, Kerrigan, Challenges

Tue, January 15, 2013

6:00 pm

Palladium

Worcester, MA

Tickets $13.00adv., $15.00 day

The Almost
The Almost
Aaron Gillespie is a man obsessed. Whether he's out in front of The Almost, his new, eagerly anticipated rock-based project, or behind the drum kit for Underoath, the Clearwater, Florida-bred songwriter/musician can't help but throw himself into everything he does.

With Southern Weather, The Almost lets Gillespie put a different, more melodic side of himself on display. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of his idol Dave Grohl, who stepped out from behind his drum kit to capture the rock world's hearts as one of the genre's most visible frontmen, Gillespie has begun a metamorphosis.

If The Almost brainchild is quick to downplay any similarities to the Foo Fighters in their infancy, his project's debut affirms he's clearly worthy. Consider that The Almost is already confirmed for the upcoming 2007 Warped Tour and that Southern Weathermarks the first time Tooth & Nail has partnered up with a major label (Virgin) for a joint release and there's little denying that Gillespie is about to take the ride of his life.

Southern Weather features the blistering "Call Me Back When I'm Honest" and the quick, evocative "Drive There Now!" Performing nearly every instrument on the disc, workhorse Gillespie aligned with acclaimed, Seattle-based producer Aaron Sprinkle on Southern Weather. And while the two had never met, The Almost brainchild was a big fan of Sprinkle's work with Pedro the Lion and they hit it off instantly.

"Aaron is an incredibly talented producer," says Gillespie. "And it turns out we have a lot in common. He wears a lot of hats and plays every instrument. He's able to open up your eyes and make you think about things you can do on an album that maybe you didn't think about."

Case in point is "Amazing Because It Is," which started as a very basic song but built into a horn-touched, choir-augmented album pinnacle. "It's way different from anything else on the record, but I think I might like it the best," Gillespie says of the spiritual opus. "It started with one take on the vocals and I kind of kept it stripped down. And then I went to a church-to like a youth group-and they invited all of their affiliated youth groups and I played a few songs for them. And I am so pleased with how it ended up."

Nearly as magical is the disc's tender, countrified moment, "Dirty And Left Out"– which took shape after the Aarons spent an evening absorbing Ocean Beachby Red House Painters. If the latter--which counts a guest vocal collaboration with former Sunny Day Real Estate singer Jeremy Enigk--is a noticeable shift from the bone-crunching attack fans have come to expect from Aaron through his work with Underoath, Gillespie says it's completely natural. "As much as I love what I do in that band, there are songs in me and music that I enjoy just as much that comes from melody," The Almost principal explains.

While some artists might find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of working alone, Aaron says he thrived by working on his own with Sprinkle. "I'm used to working in this band environment," he admits. "So that was a shift. But when I hit my stride, I could just go for things. I didn't have to explain what I was looking for to someone else or over-think anything."

From the inventive Thursday-meets-Oasis vibe of "Everyone Here Smells Like A Rat" to the breathtaking, undying roar of "I Mostly Copy Other People"--which benefits from the bass and guest vocal work of The Starting Line's Kenny Vasoli --Gillespie plays from the heart on Southern Weather. Throughout the album Aaron incorporates pieces of his youth.

Most visible is the disc's commanding opening track and first single, "Say This Sooner," which introduces the album with an attention grabbing, percussion-driven anthem. "I grew up in the Deep South," he says of the urgent, hook-fostered opener. "Like anyone, I've had struggles along the way. But I am very much informed by Southern values and I think the songs speak to that."

Just as informed are the Gillespie devotees that scored The Almost the top three songs and #1 artist ranking on PureVolume some four-plus months in advance of Southern Weather's April 3, 2007 release. The first week the songs were up, they received over 100,000 combined plays on PureVolume and MySpace. If Aaron's initial apprehensions about the project being accepted have subsided, it's that honest piece of his personality that is rare for a performer of his magnitude.

In advance of an early 2007 tour to test The Almost record on the road with his band--built from a line-up of Jay Vilardi (guitar), Alex Aponte (bass) and Kenny Bozich (drums) and himself--Gillespie was worried about how he'd be received, despite the fact most of the gigs were sell-outs and they all went off with out a hitch, setting the stage for their upcoming Warped Tour commitment.

Between his own duties out in front of The Almost and Underoath's touring and recording schedules, Aaron Gillespie is fully committed until 2008. For now, he's a firm believer in his ability to balance both. "Underoath is extremely special to me," he says of the group he co-founded in 1998 which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album Chart with June 2006's Define The Great Line.

"Whereas with Southern Weather, it's got a much broader scope," he continues. "From a 12 year old listening to her iPod on the school bus to a 38-year old guy commuting on a train, I'm excited by the fact that this album can find an audience with a lot of different people."
All Get Out
All Get Out
The road is family—the disciplining father, the nurturing mother; exist as shadows at each stop to any band betrothed to relentless touring without a safety net. With miles behind and miles ahead, life in a van will change a band; and All Get Out are no exception. From the wasted days stranded, to the desolate moments of doubt, to the nights where immortality stretches through bended notes, two-hundred and fifty shows a year has shaped the band known for their attitude and angst on display through high woven volume into a refined framework fusing gambled moments and glossy catchiness.

"We sound like we've been on tour for three years. We've been smoking and driving, and we don't smell too good," Nathan Hussey, singer and guitarist, defining the coming of age sound on their full-length debut, The Season.

In 2007 the foursome from Charleston, SC found themselves with two EPs, stumbling into regular weekend tours of the South. Soon three days became a month and a month became six. A play-anywhere-for-anyone ethic kept All Get Out on tour for three years. A loyal fan base that has been equally enamored and entertained with their big ditch, bigger valley sound has grown with them, anticipating when the band would enter the studio again.

Acting as a centerpiece to an album with running themes, the title track for The Season puts all the moments that have shaped the members square into the light. "While touring is fun and a dream, there were times where all of us wanted a wall to punch and cry and wished we were home, or had a home." Hussey explains. Writing in the moment, truly unfiltered, each verse displays specific moments of disarray the band found themselves in: broken friendships, fights, and empty wallets. In the end The Season is about moving past it all so you can keep on driving.

Just as All Get Out accidentally ended up spending the formidable part of their '20s counting mile markers, so did The Season unintentionally transform itself into a pop record when the band began tracking with producer Matt Malpass (Lydia, Copeland). Still visceral and soul-bearing as before, The Season stretches All Get Out into the frequencies beyond reactionary abrasions.

Rather than discard older material that dated back to 2007, when a much younger All Get Out wore relationship dirt all over each melody, the songs were kept for nostalgia, giving everyone a chance to hear how the band grew. Songs like My Friends, Son of Mine, Don't Let Me Go and Girl Gun display an innocence, but the rest of the album shows a band aware that the horizon holds more than can be comprehended. Even Hussey has taken himself out as the protagonist of each song, changing his voice into a character that meanders in, saying "hello", as the much bigger story unfolds.

"It's a book on the history of our band," Hussey says of album. "Now we start another Season."
Makeshift Prodigy
Makeshift Prodigy
Makeshift Prodigy is a manifestation of pure expression. A grass roots collective combining music and mind to create a powerful experience...
Venue Information:
Palladium
261 Main Street
Worcester, MA, 01608