Music review: The Innocent Bystanders
If you are from the Buffalo area, then you have most likely heard about The Innocent Bystanders and the entertaining shows that they put on. The band gained regional recognition after the release of its 2007 self-titled debut album and its first two singles were often played on radio stations in the Western New York and Southern Ontario area.
More recently, The Innocent Bystanders contributed four songs to the soundtrack for "What Goes Up" starring Hilary Duff and Molly Shannon. Their popular single "Under Wraps" appears in the 2009 film and the band recorded three new exclusive tracks for the soundtrack.
The band recently played a show at the Hard Rock CafÃ© in Niagara Falls, NY. I caught up with the lead singer, Kevin Sampson, in between their sets.
On your Myspace page you guys describe your sound as a "good old fashioned hootenanny." What does that really mean?
Kevin: I guess it just means that we like to have fun. You know, we don't really take ourselves too seriously and everyone that comes to our shows can cut loose. Tonight's show is a little different because of the venue and everyone has to sit down but we usually like to keep everyone moving and having a lot of fun.
Who do you consider your musical influences? You just played Weezer a minute ago. Are they an influence for the band?
Kevin: Weezer is a big influence on us. I'd say like a lot of '90s alternative rock like Weezer, Green Day and Foo Fighters influence us, but we all listen to a bunch of different stuff. For me, Classic signer-songwriters from the '70s come into it, but it all kind of meshes together and you come out with what you come out with.
What's the most exciting thing that has happened to you at a show?
Kevin: At a show? Hmm ... there have been a lot of nerve-racking things that have happened to us at shows. We actually played a show at Frightworld, that place with all the Halloween stuff, and that was probably the coolest show we ever played. It was all dark and smoky and tons of people were hanging around. It was right when our song "Under Wraps" was hitting on the radio so there were a lot of people there. We got to go in all the haunted houses for fun, too, so that was probably the most fun that I've ever had at a concert.
Did a mummy come out while you were playing "Under Wraps"?
Kevin: That would have been great! We should of shot our video there.
Does anyone specifically write your songs or do you do it all together?
Kevin: I write the basics of the songs. I usually write the lyrics and how it usually goes. I bring it to the band, they put in their input, and then we make it something special.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
Kevin: I really like playing a song called "Track 5." It is off of our first, album and we'll usually have a saxophone player come to play with us. That song is great to perform. I also like doing Tom Petty's "American Girl." It's always a lot of fun to play.
Do you have any big plans for the summer?
Kevin: We're trying to finish an album right now. We put out our first album about three years ago so it's been too long since we've tried to do a new one. We're shooting a music video for one of the singles on the album, so I'm excited about that. We're also planning on playing a lot of shows in the Buffalo region, too.