New sounds are around the corner

Laura Lucas

Laura Lucas

Two local bands are playing at Skinner’s Pub on April 16.

The first band to play is Brookings own Welcome to the Cinema. WTTC has made some adjustments since last year. A more noticeable difference is the two new members: Tom Weismantel on synthesizer and Andrew Eide for keyboards/backup vocals.

Eide and Weismantel joined the band almost a year ago, and prior to their time with WTTC, they played in a band called the Earthtones, who broke up in April 2007. They joined WTTC shortly after this, said Weismantel.

The band also consists of Darin Dahlmeier, guitar/vocals; Ezekiel Richter, bass guitar; and Cody Brown, drums.

In January, the band did a two-week tour that included many cities from South Dakota to Seattle, Wash., said Weismantel. WTTC, whose record label is Speakerphone Records, has also been working on an album.

“The album actually has all the songs from our E.P. on it. When Speakerphone wanted to release the album, they wanted to expand our E.P. into a full length, but the old songs have been remixed and sound better and the new ones are a bit different,” said Brown. Currently, the album is scheduled to come out by middle to late summer.

“We are hoping to go on a 30-day tour this August,” said Eide. “I suppose [our sound] has changed a little; we have tried to tap into our ‘pretty’ side. But we tend to revolve around dancy rock.”

The other band playing at Skinner’s is Bus Nine from Marshall, Minn. Bus Nine also has five members: Jeremiah Gardner, lead vocals/guitar; Chris Haase, lead vocals/guitar; Craig Hart, bass/vocals; Scott Russell, drums/vocals; and Larry Haven, lead guitar/resonator.

Bus Nine met WTTC when they volunteered to run sound for a Battle of the Bands contest, said Haase. “They were one of the acts. We liked their songs,” he said.

Bus Nine was formed in 1993 by Gardner, Hart and Haven. “They had never played music before that but wanted to put together a group to play at a fundraiser,” said Haase.

Since 1998, Bus Nine has been playing regularly and currently has four albums: Mooga Mooga Night (1999), Dirty Man Lucky (2002), Extended Play (2004) and The Road to Redemption (2007).

Their music is rock-n-roll with a flair of Americana, folk and a dash of country. Haase said the band is a big fan of The Beatles, Van Morrison, Whiskeytown and the Foo Fighters.

“I’m inspired a lot by what’s happening right around me. I find that writing about what I know first hand makes me more honest. It’s sort of therapeutic,” said Haase. “We’re trying hard to figure out what it means to be a husband, a friend, a Midwesterner, an American, etc. We’re not prophets or anything, but we’re willing to learn what is at the heart of being from where we’re from and why we do what we do.”

Bus Nine’s newest album is a testament to figuring out that taking this in a relaxed manner is best, said Haase. The band currently only tours all over Minnesota and the Dakotas.

“With the Internet, we’ve found that you can really do some damage right from home. I never imagined in a million years we’d be in regular rotation on Belgium radio stations,” Haase said.

Bus Nine has played in the Brookings area before at the Grass Festivals and at Skinner’s. They have been openers for the bands Slobberbone, Kory and the Fireflies and Lynard Skynard.

Bus Nine will also play the Brookings Marathon after party on May 10 and plan to have a new record out in 2009.

WTTC and Bus Nine will play at Skinner’s Pub April 16 at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge, but the show is only for ages 21 and up.