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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Teen looks for second chance in T-town

    The Velvet Teen has overcome the loss of its drummer to brain cancer. See if it can maintain composure, especially in a town that has previously not shown the band love, when the group performs at Plush Saturday at 9 p.m.
    The Velvet Teen has overcome the loss of its drummer to brain cancer. See if it can maintain composure, especially in a town that has previously not shown the band love, when the group performs at Plush Saturday at 9 p.m.

    Judah Nagler wants to have good sex with you. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    Nagler is the frontman of The Velvet Teen, a California-based rock group that brings to mind a glam-free, acid trip version of Muse. Soaring vocals and complex arrangements make the band one of indie rock’s most intriguing groups.

    “”A good connection with the audience is what makes a good show for me,”” Nagler said. “”It’s kind of like having sex: If the other person is not doing anything and looks bored, it’s hard to get into it.””

    The last time The Velvet Teen came to Tucson was in a 2006 show opening for lively rockers Minus The Bear. While the band had a slightly subpar night, the crowd at Club Congress was a less-than-stellar partner.

    “”From our perspective, it was like we were playing and then absolute crickets after every song,”” Nagler said. “”I didn’t hear response from anything.””

    Displeased with the situation, Nagler began to run his mouth off to the crowd, along with a few middle fingers thrown in.

    Looking back, he’s not thrilled with his behavior during that night.

    3 Q’s:

    What have you been listening to lately?
    Pandora (online radio station) and Radiohead’s In Rainbows

    What’s your favorite venue?
    Tie: Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), Troubadour (Los Angeles) and The Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, Calif.)

    What’s your dream band to tour with?
    TV on the Radio

    “”I’ve kind of dealt with (bad shows) poorly in the past,”” Nagler said. “”That wasn’t one of my better nights, for sure.””

    Since that time, much has happened in The Velvet Teen’s universe. Former drummer Logan Whitehurst passed away from brain cancer. The band also had multi-instrumentalist Josh Staples leave the group to pursue other endeavors.

    Now that Nagler has had some time to recover, he said he feels much more “”grounded.”” He has been able to keep the band together as well as maintain a good, healthy relationship.

    “”I feel like this time around is going to be different,”” Nagler said.

    Recently, Nagler has been preparing for a month-long stretch on the road with bands Say Hi To Your Mom and The A-Sides. Much of the group’s management duties have fallen on Nagler due to Staples’ departure.

    One tour preparation is something even non-musicians can relate to.

    “”I’ve been trying to drink a little bit each night to prepare for the upcoming assault on the liver,”” Nagler said.

    This tour will see The Velvet Teen unleash alternate arrangements of their older material, especially songs off of 2006’s Cum Laude. Instead of relying heavily on pre-recorded backing tracks, the band has transitioned many songs to straight-up rock with a minimalist tinge.

    “”I like to keep it live,”” Nagler said. “”It felt like we needed some kind of change to the songs to keep them fun to play.””

    Songs such as “”Gyzmkid”” and “”Building a Whale”” sound impressive in their recorded form on Cum Laude, but their simpler live renditions are sure to please.

    The stripped-down versions also make sense from a sonic perspective.

    “”At a rock show, (the sound) can get muddy really quick,”” Nagler said.

    The Velvet Teen performs Saturday night at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. The A-Sides and Say Hi To Your Mom also perform, with music beginning at 9:30 p.m. Cover is only $8 for this 21-and-over show.

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