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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New sound for the last show

Next Friday, Chicago-based band Blane Fonda will be performing in Gardner at 8 p.m. Having formed little over a year ago from two other Chicago bands, Blane Fonda offers an upbeat but melodramatic take on a fusion of sounds, melodies and rhythms that will arouse the crowd in more ways than one.

“We all listen to different types of music, we all have varied types of influences, so finding the common ground and influencing each other to make music is a really big part of our band,” singer Mark Wentz said during a phone interview with the band.

Upon hearing their music, this message could not be clear enough, as each song seems to comprise a medley of varying traits.

Blane Fonda intertwines a collection of fast-paced rhythms, somber tones, and interesting instrumental compilations that create one cohesive sound. One essential element of this band is their lead vocalist, Mark Wentz, whose voice adjusts to fit the mood of each song’s lyrics. In addition to Wentz, the reverberations of Dave Veller’s bass guitar and the other men’s voices that comprise the band help to solidify this deeply masculine sound.

In contrast, the instruments of Matt Witt, keyboard player and trumpeter, Charlie Nadler, guitarist, and drummer David Fine all work together to challenge the heavy melodies.

Whereas the vocals reverberate in the pit of your stomach, the instruments provide a relief by stimulating your outer senses and lifting you out of the moroseness of the singing. With the collaboration of these various elements comes a surprisingly cohesive sound that is neither so low key as to inspire lethargy, but not with such a high octane as to result in a brain aneurism.
The song “Modern Women” illustrates this band’s strength nicely, as the grave voice of Wentz mixes smoothly with the brassy sound of Witt’s trumpet and produces an invigorating experience. Wentz said that there is a therapeutic aspect of their music because each member of the band puts their own passions and frustrations in their songs.

“I write a lot about things that are beyond my control,” Wentz said. “It’s therapy really and I know the other guys feel the same way. If you can’t change something in your life, or something’s out of your control, you can beat it out on the drums, you can hammer it out on the bass, or you can wail on it when your singing, or you can write about something that’s aggravating you, whether it’s sad or happy.”

While Blane Fonda is good, and generates an interesting sound, those looking for easy-going music will be hard pressed to find it here. What brings the two contrasting effects of heavy vocals and higher ranged instruments together is the ability of the musicians to cue each other and produce one, synthesized sound that is both deeply resonating and uplifting. When this band manages to pull it off, the sound is new, exhilarating, and exciting, and when it doesn’t, the sound remains flat and pulls the listener down. However, even this intense sound can be stimulating, depending on your mood and penchant for languor.

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