Four bands are set to converge at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Saturday to bring alternative rock to the annual CD 102.5 Day. That goal of music cohesion is the same that the concert’s headliner, Grouplove, said they had during their unlikely formation six years ago.
In 2008, Grouplove’s vocalist and guitarist Christian Zucconi met keyboardist and vocalist Hannah Hooper in New York City. Just days later, Zucconi accepted Hooper’s invitation to travel thousands of miles to an artist retreat, according to the band’s Facebook biography. At the retreat, Zucconi and Hooper met guitarist and vocalist Andrew Wessen, bassist Sean Gadd and drummer Ryan Rabin.
Wessen, a California native, said the artist retreat took place in a “ridiculously beautiful” mountain village on the island of Crete, Greece. He said upon arrival, the five strangers were naturally drawn to each other.
“We met each other on a level where we were the people we wanted to be. We didn’t have the weight, when you know someone forever, there are certain patterns you get in and certain predispositions,” Wessen said. “We all met in a really magical place and kind of just fell in love with each other as the people we wanted to be in our lives.”
When the summer came to an end, the future members of Grouplove went their separate ways.
“We all kept in touch and we still had really good communication,” Wessen said. “Sean flew out from London and hung out with Hannah and Christian in New York in fall 2009 and then they all drove across the country here (California).”
Reunited in southern California after one year apart, Wessen said the group decided to record music in Rabin’s parents’ garage.
“It just happened very organically and the next thing you know, everyone was living at Ryan’s parents’ house in three weeks and (we) didn’t leave,” Wessen said. “We got like seven or eight songs and, unknowingly, the EP was done but we really had no intention of ever actually being a band. It was still in this phase ‘just for fun.’”
There was a turning point once Grouplove’s current manager, Nicky Berger, posted the group’s songs on a few blog websites. Wessen said attention started coming toward the project and that it “was a really exciting time.”
“We originally were called ‘Group,’ which goes back to when we were in Greece and we were riding around on little scooters and we’d all just be like, ‘We’re the group, we’re the group!’ and we’d just yell that,” Wessen said.
After officially deciding to become a band, Wessen said he quickly realized the name Group would be impossible for people to find and promote.
“The first thing that popped in everyone’s head — I don’t know who said it first — was Grouplove, and once everyone said it, we were like ‘Yeah, it’s positive, it’s bold, we all believe in love.’ It just made sense and that was the name. It just stuck,” Wessen said.
Grouplove released a self-titled EP in January 2011 and before releasing their debut full-length album “Never Trust a Happy Song” in September 2011. Their second single, “Tongue-Tied,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in June 2012 after being featured in a 2011 iPod Touch commercial.
“There’s so much creativity in the band that it’s scary. I think we’re just trying to capture at least some percentage of what we have between the five of us because every single person in the band writes,” Wessen said. “(There is) so much material so there’s no need for us to take time off to write. There (are) already a million songs just waiting in the wings.”
Grouplove released its second full-length album “Spreading Rumors” in September 2013 and Wessen said that he and his bandmates were able to live in a house and create the album with “no other obligations at all.”
“(Our sound) is the byproduct of five very different people coming together from all over the world and we get a real creative, eclectic mix of styles and influences because, to all of us, our worst nightmare is an album where 12 songs sound the same,” Wessen said.
Wessen said he attributes Grouplove’s success to being proactive with continuous touring and songwriting, adding that the band hasn’t taken a “real break” in three and a half years.
“We have no intention of stopping and I think that, also, just giving everything we have in our live shows,” he said. “We lay it all on the line when we play.”
Katie Tippy, a second-year in marketing, said she stumbled upon Grouplove’s music by chance.
“I first heard of (Grouplove) when their song ‘Itchin’ on a Photograph’ came on my Cage the Elephant Pandora station,” she said.
Tippy said she won’t be able to attend Saturday’s show but she is looking forward to seeing Grouplove perform at Lollapalooza, an annual music festival held in Chicago.
“I’ve never been to a concert before so I’m excited to see them there (at Lollapalooza),” Tippy said.
Scheduled to open for Grouplove are the bands MS MR, Skaters and The Orwells, as part of CD 102.5 Day: Side A, presented by Columbus radio station CD102.5.
Lesley James, a DJ at CD 102.5, said the radio station aimed to keep ticket prices low at $5, and they were sold out within 90 minutes of release.
“We’re stoked. Our fans are stoked. The lineup features a mix of up-and-comers along with established acts,” James said. “We’re ready to celebrate this Saturday.”
Doors open at 5 p.m. LC Pavilion is located at 405 Neil Ave and the concert will be indoors.
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