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Long, Strange Trippers

For feel-good Abendego, the next stop is the open road


Here’s the rub: Writing about music is like dancing about architecture, and with six people to fold into a straight-up interview, 500 words is barely long enough to pluck just one genius quote out of everybody. And here’s something else: The bands deserve better. Something a little more organic.

I paid a visit to the Abendego house with what I thought was a rather innovative plan: a Ouija-board style interview in which each band member got to add three words to what the person before had said before passing the answer along like a hot potato. The idea was that something that was part everybody but not wholly anybody but Abendego would emerge, a kind of group consensus based on the members’ trust in each other to finish their thoughts.

In the end, though, everybody just had too much to talk about! About the music, about the upcoming tour, about school, about being friends. The joy of chatting on the record with a band like Abendego is that they’re so unselfconsciously into their band and each other that no one has to look sidelong at their mates to see if they’ve betrayed some unspoken rule of band cool by saying what they really mean.

When you see them onstage—violinist Beth Fortune, singer and bassist Gabe Otto, guitarist/flutist Sarah Lindmark, keyboardist Matt Jones, guitarist (and a bunch of other stuff) Ryan Burnett and drummer Joe LeRoy—the esprit de corps is so thick you could reach out and grab a handful. Abendego want to have fun, but more importantly, they want you to have fun. They want to spread real love, and they’re agreed that the serendipitous circumstances that brought them together point toward something more than just six people jamming. As they put it, “We didn’t find this quest, but the quest found us.”

For a band that’s only been together for two years, they’ve already turned into keen road hogs as well. And an Abendego tour, you quickly get the feeling, would be fun as hell—something like a cross between The Partridge Family and a rolling summer camp with no counselors. The big purple school bus they picked up for their summer-long “Green Circle Tour” (look at a map of the western U.S. and notice how the big mountain ranges form a rough green ring around Nevada) is fully decked out for the two and a half months they’ll be out—bunk beds, comfy seating, and a growing number of clippings and quotes taped and scrawled on the walls. Next stop: the open road.

This is what being in a band is all about—the fun. By the time you read this, school will be out, a couple members of Abendego will have graduated, and summer will be one big tulip patch ripe for the tiptoeing. If zeal and unity of purpose count for anything, then Abendego are already well on their way to the dead-serious goal of being “one of the biggest bands this world has ever seen.” And if the end justifies the means, Abendego’s ticket to the big time is already paid in full.

Abendego plays the Ritz this Friday, May 12 at 10 p.m. Cover $2.

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