Without a release, merchandise or even a strong web presence, local indie rock outfit Crumbsnatchers has developed a staggering buzz, when taking into account only a single year of activity. Playing one show per week on average, a quick glance at most venues’ events calendars will turn up at least one Crumbsnatchers sighting. The band stresses that its high show frequency is reflective of its own love of performing, but the band isn’t alone in enjoying its shows.
While on the verge of recording its first studio EP, Crumbsnatchers show no fear of oversaturation with weekly local gigs. And why should they? The turnouts haven’t suffered yet. Playing on diverse bills at a variety of venues, the act has won new fans with consistency, as praise for its live show abounds. The band cites its “obvious” joy in putting on a show for the acclaim, but its infectious style of music is definitely another factor. Creating danceable rhythms in unconventional time signatures, Crumbsnatchers’ shows are known to erupt in fits of spastic, um, dancing, for lack of a better word.
“I think part of it is that you can tell we love the music,” explains vocalist/guitarist Guetts (pronounce Goots). “The music is good too, but we could play music and look like we’re bored up there, and that wouldn’t transfer. We really love playing these songs, and it’s obvious.
“We wanted to make music that we really liked and hopefully that other people like as well. To make people dance was a big thing we wanted to do, to see audiences dancing and have a party. There are times when people are confused and don’t know how to dance to it, but (they) do dance. Rock ’n’ roll is what we tell people it is — shake-your-butt rock ’n’ roll.”
“I don’t know that it’s ‘dancey,’ ” disputes guitarist Philip Mosteller. “People want to dance and move, but it’s not poppy necessarily. People will dance throughout the whole show, and then when we get to a song like ‘Odd Bird,’ they don’t know what to do with themselves.” The band also features bassist Sam Burchfield.
Along with recording, a major item on the Crumbsnatchers agenda is adding spectacle to its already energetic live shows. Theatrics will enter the scenario through costumery and visual aids.
“We want to make it more theatrical,” says Mosteller. “Not necessarily choreographed or anything, but just theatrical and fun for the crowd in general.”
“Costumes, lights, balloons, bubbles, all of those things,” Guetts specifies. “We’ve been talking to a friend of ours about making costumes. At one point, I wanted to go on stage in just our underwear. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve also been talking about superhero costumes. We thought maybe we could be superheroes; one of us could be Batman, one of us could be The Hulk. ... Then we thought we could make our own super hero costumes and be our own super heroes with like a ‘CS’ for Crumbsnatchers on our chests. ... The Band Eat Band contest is what got me thinking about it, because I really want to win.”
And so far they have. Crumbsnatchers advanced to the second round of Preservation Pub’s Band Eat Band competition with a little help from the audience. A true Cinderella entry in the contest, Crumbsnatchers were entered on short notice after an impromptu appearance by Guetts, Mosteller and a clarinetist friend at the Pres Pub Annex the night before. A chance meeting and a cancellation later, and Crumbsnatchers found themselves battling Vagabond Philosophy in the contest’s opening round. After some debate and ensuing confusion, both bands were put through to the next round.
“We were there by chance,” Guetts recalls. “We didn’t actually sign up until late. Two of us and a friend who plays clarinet had played in the Annex, the art gallery, kind of impromptu. The next day, the band that was supposed to go up against Vagabond Philosophy canceled, and they e-mailed us, having only seen us doing something not representative of Crumbsnatchers.
“So we went up against Vagabond Philosophy and they called it a draw. Actually, they called them the winner and put us through as a wild card. What Pres Pub posted on their Facebook page is that they did that to avoid death by mob, to avoid being hung in Market Square. The audience was chanting ‘Crumbsnatchers!’ when they were about to announce the winner as Vagabond Philosophy.”
Whether winning the hearts of dancing show-goers or violent mobs, Crumbsnatchers are creating a movement in more ways than one. In the coming month the band will appear at iSuarave in Sevierville (April 21), Fort Sanders Fest in World’s Fair Park (April 27), Exam Jam at Relix Variety Theatre (April 27), Birdhousearoo at The Birdhouse (May 18), and The Well May 24.
Tonight, Crumbsnatchers play The Well with Yung Life, Mutations, Yak Strangler and Dude from Dude’s House. The show is set for 9 p.m. and cost is $5.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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