THE LIVINGSTON UNDERGROUND
Let me tell you a little story about a band.
Well, first, it’s a story about a guy. His name is James Radick, and a few years ago, 2008 to be exact, he reached out to me and asked me if he could play a show. At that point, Fusion Shows was already underway, but we were still regularly presenting shows at the Hartland Performing Arts Center.
His first show was at the PAC, solo under his own name. Then he told me he had a band, Good Weather For Airstrikes. With Hero No Day members David Boeving and Aaron Newton on guitar and bass, and former Border Patrol drummer Bill Grant rounding out the lineup, GWFA had a full lineup for the first time. Their first show was at the 700 Bowl in South Lyon, as part of our summer series there. It was rough.
But they were sweet kids who tried real hard. Never mind the fact that James couldn’t keep his guitar in tune, and had this real hard time looking people in the eye. I saw a triumph in watching his band develop, fall apart, and then develop again.
A few years later, the band locked in a full-time lineup, and began to develop a heavy post-rock sound. Three former members of Livingston County bands (mostly ska bands) joined up with James, and Good Weather For Airstrikes started making some waves. With Bill remaining on drums, fellow Border Patrol alum Josh Fenn on bass, and Failed Attempt 52’s Joe Hillier on lead guitar, GWFA developed a signature sound never before heard in our area. And they got good. Real good. Live tones improved, stage presence got way better, and suddenly, they were a force to be reckoned with locally and beyond.
They performed packed shows with bands such as Lydia, As Tall As Lions, The Dear Hunter, La Dispute, and they sold out their own headlining shows at the Howell Opera House. They worked harder than most other bands, and most importantly, they were incredibly humble and they listened when people gave them constructive criticism. They practiced hard. They showed up early to their shows, helped set up, offered to help tear down and clean up. They were often found in the front row at other local bands’ shows, singing along and just being a part of it.
They were, in essence, the perfect local band.
Today, they announced that they were breaking up. I can’t say that I’m surprised. It’s been four years, and while they’ve accomplished a lot, releasing two records (2010’s Yearning EP, and the 2011 full-length release To Have Our Hearts Emptied, To Be Left As We Came, which James affectionately refers to as “long ass album title”), packing local shows, doing some regional touring, it seemed like the wind had gone out of the sails. The band remains friends, and I can’t imagine that we won’t see all 4 members in local bands again very soon.
I’m bummed to see them go, and while we still have a few chances to see them locally (including being a part of the big announcement coming tomorrow), I’m excited that individually, they’ll remain a vital part of our community. James has been a big part of this music scene since he started coming around in 2007, and will continue to be so, as one of the main organizers of the Livingston Underground movement. He’ll be very vocal in helping lead the way around here.
I can’t wait for you guys to hear what we both have to say tomorrow.
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