If there’s one thing to learn when it comes to scouring Columbus for new music: Don’t let age blind your vision.
And should you be blurry-eyed, discouraged about the current state of music, don’t let that ailment add to any post-30s denouement. Judging from what’s been seen and done in these pages by the likes of Cherry Chrome, Inner Mikey, Stems, or the cadre of young hip-hop entrepreneurs who were featured a few seasons ago—youth is not wasted on the young. Not in the slightest.
And just as that sentiment sinks in and the audience starts to read it as fact, in walks Radattack, with a hyper-simulacrum of the rock and roll revival that was felt when the yoked were genuinely frightened of Y2K. They’ve already sold out local shows, got prime-time slots on CD102.5, jaunts to Brooklyn, a manager, and some pretty plausible stage names—including Henry and Leonard Velour, Eric Duke, and Nicholas Von Salvador. This, and 3/4 of the band have yet to even enter their senior year of high school. This summer, instead of unearthing the last vestiges of adolescence one learns in that particular edge-of-seventeen transition, the band will instead be carpet-bombing festival crowds at Nelsonville and Yellow Springs with an indomitable spirit and a confidence that’s rarely seen in bands so green.
“We had a strategy of how we wanted to implement everything, how we wanted to get hype, to get people to the shows, how we wanted to record our stuff,” says Velour, the guitarist and vocalist responsible for the entirety of Radattack’s songwriting and sonic palette. “There was just a natural energy when we started (only about six months ago) and I think that was a culmination of all the experiences we had in our other bands.”
To wit, Radattack is, in Velour and Duke’s words, a “cherry-picked supergroup,” with members of Cousin Simple, Rat Motel, and the Comos, joining forces and putting their collective effort into one concentrated band. Again, no fault if you’ve never heard of those other bands, but to a large contingent of barely-legal concert goers, they all comprise a healthy scene of individuals faithful to the current garage rock resurgence.
“We are heavily influenced by a lot of what’s coming out of Chicago right now. Be it Twin Peaks, or the Orwells, or Fidlar,” says Duke. “It’s funny though, a lot of the kids our age who come to our shows, don’t know the things that have come before those bands. Like they can’t make the connection between Twin Peaks and the Rolling Stones.”
“So there’s definitely a gap in Columbus,” Velour intervenes, “a lack of raunchy, sexy, rock and roll. To be a rockstar you have to act like a rockstar.”
With that, Velour’s presence on stage, and his self-taught prowess on guitar (the kid will take most seasoned professionals for a wild ride), matches his swagger-filled rhetoric. At first it was hard to take as serious, but after browsing the catalog they’ve amassed so far, from the razor-sharp fury of “Montana Psychedelic,” to the anthem driven romp of “Bye Bye High School,” and the classicist blues of “Swamp Dog,” Radattack have enough cache to back up the attitude. Their penchant to color their world with nods to pop art, 1950s rebellion, James Dean, Japanese monsters, rayguns and nuclear scares, furthers that revolution, a desire to “make things happen.”
When plied about what’s next and what they define as success, their modesty is refreshing, if not poetic to a fault.
“Right now, seeing as we haven’t even graduated yet, we’ve got plenty of time,” says Velour. “We are just leaves in the wind, headed wherever that wind takes us.”
Though Radattack may have replaced the sex and drugs with board games and skateboarding, the rock and roll is central. And that’s what matters most, right?
Radattack will be playing Friday, June 8 with Garbage Greek at Ace of Cups, and then Wednesday, June 13 opening for the Cold War Kids at the Newport. Visit radattack.com for music and more information.