STOP LIGHT OBSERVATIONS
Visulite Theatre (18 +)
Doors Open: 7:30 - Show Starts: 8:30
Tickets: $14.00 (Advance) / $17.00 (Day of Show)
2 pack tickets are available!
John Keith Culbreth (aka Cubby) was 16 years old—no longer the religious child he had been back in his childhood days spent in Anderson, SC—but was, unknowingly, poised for a divine intervention of life-altering proportions. While peacefully sleeping after a classmate's musical performance, an entity presented itself to Cubby—the entity presented itself as God. "It was the most vivid dream I had ever had," says Cubby. "It felt so bizarre." "God" spoke to Cubby. It told him to contact his classmate, Will Blackburn, and come together to create music. Cubby obliged, Blackburn agreed, and the band proceeded to practice for over a year, never playing a show.
Stop Light Observations' inaugural performance took place on Sullivan's Island. Among the crowd was Cubby's childhood pastor—a man with whom he had once had a close relationship. As it turns out, Cubby's former pastor was Will Blackburn's grandfather. Divinity had served up fate. Cubby and Blackburn had been childhood friends, but never knew it. SLO was born, and the sky was the limit.
But things didn't truly take off until a few years later when SLO released their acclaimed 2013 debut, Radiation. Metronome hailed the record's "emotive and elegant" songs, which landed perfectly in the sweet spot between arena and indie rock. The band went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston's largest club, The Music Farm, in just a year.
Since then, Stop Light Observations have broken the record for most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm and have toured across the country, playing standout festival sets at Firefly, Summerfest, and more. SLO's most recent LP, Toogoodoo, saw coverage at major national outlets from PBS and Conan O’Brien’s Fresh Noise to Impose, PopMatters and Garden & Gun, the latter praising Toogoodoo as "a promising debut from the band, who have wowed audiences throughout the South.”
Now, following the successful release of Toogoodoo, and an ambitious year on the road in support, Stop Light Observations are poised to tackle their next major endeavor—an ongoing series of digital 45s, each with an A-side and B-side, entitled The Volume, which will disperse the band’s hard-hitting yet melodic songs in a more immediate fashion.
"The Volume is much more than just bypassing the mechanics of an album," Cubby explains. "Its about inspiring ourselves and others with this approach that lends itself to complete creative freedom. The Beatles released 250-plus songs in 7 years without the technology we have today. If they can do it, why can't we?"
At the center of the first volume is Stop Light Observations' new single, "Coyote." It’s a stunning, slow-building piano ballad that evolves strikingly through distinct dynamic phases, vocalist Will Blackburn's effortlessly toggling between a delicate croon and an anthemic howl. With "Coyote," the group distills its already potent arena-ready indie rock all the way through the song's powerful crescendo of an outro.
Thematically, “Coyote” deals with loss—something the entire band has coped with many times over the years. "The situations and emotions behind our songs are extremely personal," SLO guitarist Louis Duffie explains.
Cubby adds, "When I was 15, I started dating my childhood sweetheart—who is now my wife—and after our first year of dating we received the earth-shattering news that her best friend, Lizzy, had committed suicide. She was the sweetest, happiest, and kindest girl in our entire high school and to believe she would take her own life was unfathomable. 'Coyote' is that story for me—the story of the pack animal, still feeling alone despite its family joining in its howls of pain. It is the girl with the bright smile taking her life—the fallen angel. It's the first time you meet up with all your friends and that person you all loved so much isn't there."
The first installment from The Volume also offers up "The Ghost of Larry Ford Jr.," an instrumental track that tackles the next step of loss: the frustration, anger and anxiety of letting go, all seamlessly communicated sans lyrics. The stylized, labyrinthine track sounds like a Wes Anderson films looks, along the way deftly mapping the chaotic trajectory of a mind in mourning.
Stop Light Observations may be blazing their own trails, but they want everyone to join them on their journey—fans, friends and family, past and present. "The Volume releases will ultimately be defined as a series—a voice for the voiceless. A podium for those who have yearned for the opportunity to share their own stories of struggle, passion, and love," vocalist Will Blackburn explains.
"We live in an era of polar divisions perpetuated by fear," Blackburn continues. "And the divide seems to be growing exponentially. But if we turn off the cable news channel and walk out our front doors and speak to our neighbors, we may find that our struggles, while they vary, are often quite relatable. It is my hope that trough this style of releasing music that we may open up the conversations that need to be addressed most in today's America. All are equal and all opinions should be heard with hopes of perpetuating peace and understanding. Love is the way and this is the path we have chosen to move forward."
The internet describes Okey Dokey as "psychedelic doo wop", but if you ask the Nashville duo themselves, they are "just a couple of wizards born to ride". Visual artist Aaron Martin & guitarist Johny Fisher combine the best of psych & soul to send the listener on a nostalgia-laced, dreamland trip.
Coming off their latest record “Tell All Your Friend” and a 10 song collaboration album titled “Curio Cabinet I” featuring bands like No Vacation, Arlie, Dent May, Devon Gilfillian and many more, the band is currently recording their third LP and playing headlining shows across the US.
Previous performances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Hang Out Fest, and Lou Fest as well as sold out tours with Rayland Baxter and No Vacation.
Since starting the band in 2017, Okey Dokey has received
7.53 million streams with 1.48 million listeners on Spotify.
For fans of: My Morning Jacket, Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Beach Boys
Start Time: 8:30
Arson Daily. It’s more than an on-the-nose sup nod to the pot smokers of the world. It’s the product of over 4 years of basements, bars, van transit, and general disillusionment.
The latter being most apparent, long-time roommates Zach Dunham (guitar/vocals), Adam McLean (drums), and Quincy Platt (bass) have succeeded in conquering adolescence and are actively seeking out maturity. Raleigh-based Arson Daily has made the conscious effort to grow beyond their traditionally raw, garage-rock predispositions by experimenting with new methods of songwriting. Leaving the electric instruments in their noisy home studio, most of Arson Daily’s newest album, Late Reflections, has been written in every room of their house on acoustic instruments. After intimately crafting the soul of each song, they would bring it in to their studio to guide it, one small layer at a time, into their eclectic vision featuring sonic qualities comparable to surf-western, Nashville garage rock, and indie radio trash.
Late Reflections, set to release February 2020, was recorded and produced with Mo Lowda and the Humble in Philadelphia. Late Reflections drives listeners through the satisfaction of accomplishment while wrestling with the hesitance and nostalgia that inherently accompanies change. Late Reflections has everything to do with accepting individuality, its inherent susceptibility to rejection, and the unabashed courage to do it anyway.
Such themes will harbor interest to those who’ve known Arson Daily since their 2014 inception, reminiscent of noise complaints and soon-to-be-failed hearing tests in the Boone, NC basement scene. Having since graduated and relocated to Raleigh, NC, hungover with adulthood, Daily has ditched the booze enameled college boys vibe and taken a leap forward with the vulnerability of their content.
The last three years have seen the boys consistently booking venues and performing alongside names such as Shakey Graves, Illiterate Light, Briston Maroney, and Mo Lowda and the Humble.
Anyone who’s seen this group knows that a vestibule-pounding live performance is the core of their music. Arson Daily’s essence has always been best communicated through the translucent shadows kiltering through the night during their concerts. There’s something lost through the conversion of all music into a digital medium. It’s Arson Daily’s nature to reclaim that intangible quality within every audience.