The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
SPU seniors form band
By KATHERINE CLINE, Features Writer
Published: April 26, 2006
Staring out on a full venue, with many supportive SPU students, staff, and alumni cheering them on, Barcelona struck the first chord of their show. Immediately, the crowd was immersed in the music, admiring the obvious passion exuding from the guys as they played their instruments. Barcelona played a sold-out show Friday at The Showbox, joined by the bands Tysen, Lucky For Nothing, and Summit Avenue. Summit Avenue band member Ben Coleman attended SPU in previous years.
Barcelona comprises current SPU seniors Chris Bristol and Rhett Stonelake, recent SPU alum Brian Fennell, and their friend Brian Eichelberger. Their Seattle support was evident at their successful show on Friday. Last year, Bristol, Stonelake, and Fennell came together while working on Group staff, and by the end of summer, a band was born. Although they all had their own individual experiences with music, be it a solo singer-songwriter career or a worship leader position, the guys have come together to form something bigger. Guitarist Chris Bristol described this move and said, "We all kind of fit together." Currently, Bristol still works as the leader of Group on campus.
Singer Fennell recorded a solo album last summer, but decided that forming into a band was the best move for him. Besides the fact that solo artists rarely make it for many reasons, he wanted to "share the musical experience with three of my closest friends." Now, the guys collaborate on songs written by Fennell, and perform them with a new twist. They are currently creating new songs with all the members involved. Fennell's CD is entitled "Safety Songs," and provides a refreshing mix of soaring vocals, pop-infused piano, catchy melodies, and well-fitting lyrics.
A mix of "alternative pop," as Bristol calls it, and piano rock, Barcelona presents a sound reminiscent of Keane and other piano-driven bands. Their sound is fueled by powerful rock moments enhanced by clever percussion, rhythmic guitars, and a strong bass. However, the times they really shine are the softer moments, which singer Brian Fennell describes as their "melodic side." With Fennell on the keys, Barcelona brings a unique element to would-be alternative pop, fusing in both poppy and mournful piano spots, and combining them with artful lyrics.
Live, Barcelona puts on a beautiful show. Since their first show in December, Friday night at the Showbox marks only their 11th. However, they give an experienced, well-rehearsed show. The guys manage to exude energy, peace, and a pure happiness to be doing what they love, all the while giving an entertaining show. Play between guitarist Bristol and bassist Eichelberger during one of the songs caught the crowd's attention, as well as Fennell's soulful style of singing, eyes closed.
Playing to a sold-out crowd at the Showbox downtown would have been enough for Barcelona, but they were in fact playing to a venue that went almost 100 people over its nightly capacity on Friday. These distinctively humble guys maintain that they had a great time.
Inspired by such legends as U2 and Coldplay, yet also by more indie bands like Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie, and Lovedrug, Barcelona tries to remain true to the Seattle scene. In fact, Barcelona strives to be a mainstream band, and they may have content that is about a faith in God, but their music is accessible to everyone interested. Rather, "We distinctively don't want to be in the Christian scene... The music industry is such a dark and rough industry, and we want to go into this situation as four Christian guys, just quality guys who talk to people," Bristol said. Fennell agrees, saying that he writes from personal experiences, be it faith-based or from relationships.
Lucky for Barcelona, they get the chance to talk to many people. Just returning from a spring break tour of California, they are planning another tour this August, and still have more Seattle area shows planned. This Friday they will be in Bellingham at Wild Buffalo, for ages 21 and over. They will also be at Seattle's Crocodile CafŽ Monday, May 22, at an all-ages event. They will be opening for their favorite band and inspiration, Ohio band Lovedrug, and joined by the Smoking Popes.
For their musical future, the band plans on "taking things one day at a time," as Bristol put it. Fennell agrees, saying they plan on having fun with their music, and that they will be happy "as long as we keep our, as cheesy as it sounds, heads on straight and nobody gets hurt."
Check out the band's Web site at http://wearebarcelona.com, or check out their MySpace music account under the name Barcelona.