The world-weary sounds of Washington, DC-based Americana band, South Rail, don’t immediately conjure images of people dressed like super heroes and SciFi characters – but these two worlds will blend at a show in Old Sacramento on Wednesday.
Eric Urias from Sacramento met Jay Byrd and Lara Supan of DC-based band, South Raily, at the Burning Man Festival. They camped next to each other and struck up a friendship. Then Urias looked up their music after Burning Man and really liked their sound.
He even made a music video of SacAnime Convention Cosplay set to one of their songs:
A few months ago South Rail announced a crowd-sourced tour. Fans could contribute at different levels to get the band to come to their town. Supan said the tactic worked for them on their first national tour because DC is such a transient town. People see them play and then move back to their hometown and spread the word.
“The problem is you can’t build a local following when they’re all going back to different places,” Said Supan, vocalist and keyboard player for South Rail. She and Byrd write most of the songs too.
“My writing comes out of necessity - when I’m writing it’s because saying the words is not enough, that’s why a lot of my songs are sad or angst-y,” Lara Supan where the old-soul sound of South Rail comes from for her. “They come from a place of desperation where there’s no other option for me. “Jay is a little bit more studied - he likes to write a story.”
The opening song on the band’s most recent EP, Stars is written by Supan and titled “On My Way.” She wrote it after a friend died suddenly at a young age.
“I didn’t know what to do about it. It’s questioning your own mortality but also seeing something so unfinished. He was helping me record an album and it was just done after that,” she said. “On My Way starts with ‘as I was saying,’ like we were in a middle of a sentence, because that’s how I felt. It’s written from his perspective. I felt the need to write the end of his story.”
The heartache is delicately woven throughout the album; in the soulful, longing and effortless harmonies and the deep and imploring lyrics.
“There’s been a lot of death in my life which is good and bad because I was able to write about it,” said Supan.
Maybe it’s the heartache that makes this band a good fit for a nerd party? Urias booked the show in Sacramento as a birthday party. He’s involved in several cosplay and nerd groups in the area and wanted to open it up for all his friends.
“I wanted to put a positive spin on my birthday and put out a bunch of good karma into the world,” Urias said. “I thought I’d make it a fundraiser for a charity.”
The proceeds from this event will go to A Touch of Understanding, an anti-bullying group helping would-be bullies come to place of understanding for people who are different than them.
“There’s been so much about anti-bullying and kids being bullied they just seemed like the right fit for the nerd crowd,” Urias said. He said most nerds have been the victims of bullying, especially older folks who were nerdy before it was so main-stream.
An old-time, alt-country band might not strike you as very nerdy, but nerds are no strangers to heart ache and longing to be understood.
“While the bands aren’t nerdy unto themselves the whole party and theme outside that are nerdy and geeky,” said Urias.
The show will take place on Wednesday, January 14 at the Other Office in Old Sacramento, a common hangout for the League of Proper Villains and The Sacramento Steampunk Society. There will be a $10 cover, costume contest, raffle and maybe a life-size TARDIS from Dr. Who.