Nick Thieneman Young Widows
Young Widows and its audience seem to have a mutually personal bond that is absent from most bands.
The band formed in 2005 when three out of the four members of the esteemed and disbanded Breather Resist out of Louisville, Kentucky, decided to continue performing together while expanding their hardcore musical palette into noise-rock and slower tempos. Since then, Young Widows has released four albums, including this year's cathartic and moving Easy Pain. But the record is absolutely lighthearted compared to 2011's In and Out of Youth and Lightness, which was a product of personal turmoil and stylistic transition for the band.
"It's been surprising how many people on [the current] tour have brought up In and Out of Youth and Lightness as being one of their favorite records," explains singer/guitarist Evan Patterson. "Honestly, where I was personally in my life and where the band was, with Nick [Thieneman, bass] becoming a father, and playing these five- to eight-minute-long droning songs that are all highly emotional for me. It's one of those things where you wonder if anyone's gonna relate to this. Some of those songs, when we play them, I don't really want to play them anymore because I don't want to relate to my lyrics and where I was at that point. I don't wanna open that door. That record dealt with more ideas of life and death rather than being as personable."
For Easy Pain, Young Widows consciously decided to alleviate the darkness that had surrounded its predecessor. "When we were touring the last record," Patterson says, "it felt a little different. The energy of the live show and the way our band can play -- it's not as intense of a record as records we had made. It was really a rewarding record to create because it was a struggle to get there. The new record was really second nature [for us]. It was relaxed, and we were just playing as loud as we can. We simplified things a little bit just to have more fun as a band.
"The whole process of writing was more mutual, and I think there's a lot more freedom amongst all of us. The earlier stuff was more of my specific ideas about how a drum part should go or how a bass part should go. I think I was a little more controlling as a songwriter. But the new record was more relaxed and simple."
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"I really set out to write lyrics that were more relatable to other people's lives rather than my own," Patterson continues. "And that's something I feel like I accomplished with Easy Pain. These are songs that I feel like I could play until the day I die."
Patterson has been successful with this endeavor, and Young Widows' audience has followed suit -- and, more importantly, grown with the band. The frontman says this is a product of the fans' like-minded attitude: "I would say that fans of our band read into the songs and the lyrical content. I think, sometimes, maybe people just like bands because they're heavy or because they're more of [entertainment]. But I think a lot of our fans in particular just relate to the whole package and they invest themselves in the music [rather than] just wanting to come out to see a heavy show or a metal or punk band. It's not necessarily gonna be a good time to see us play. The music's loud and pretty offensive."
It is, however, hitting a profound nerve in a significant amount of people for whom self-reflection is a higher priority than banal entertainment.
Young Widows is scheduled to perform at the Firebird this Saturday, July 5. Tickets are $12.
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