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Stafford features alternative lineup

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 18:01


The Eastern Sea has performed in festivals such as SXSW and Free Press Houston Summerfest.

In a blend of indie rock and folk-inspired tunes, Thursday’s lineup at the Grand Stafford Theater in Bryan is sure to bring something new and different to the stage.

The show features everything from hard rock beats to orchestral themes, and is the fourth stop in a cross-country tour for co-headliners The Eastern Sea and Kopecky Family Band. The bands will play along with Buxton, a folk group from Houston.

Matt Hines, founder of the Eastern Sea, started the band in 2005 with some friends. Since then, the band has performed in multiple festivals, received national renown and released its first LP, “Plague,” which was mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering (also mastered Bon Iver and Andrew Bird).

Hines said that the sound of the band has evolved over the years from Sufjan-influenced instrumentation to a more percussive-dominant sound.

“When I first started the band, I was really into this orchestral pop thing that was going on in 2005,” Hines said. “I’ve actually kind of made a resurgence into that now, especially with how popular dubstep is. Electronic music has really taken over the pop world.”

Unlike many musicians who are trying to bring something unique to the music world, “new sound” is not what The Eastern Sea is after. Hines described his music as progressive pop that often deals with heavy topics.

“I write pop music to try and be the sugar around the pill — to help people swallow really hard things,” Hines said. “That is art. That is the function of art. To help people swallow difficult concepts in easy-to-swallow form.”

Co-headlining with The Eastern Sea is Kopecky Family Band from Nashville. With a track record that includes multiple EPs, tours and co-headlining with the Lumineers, the band has been playing non-stop since their inception in 2007.

“The band members came from all over the place, but we met up in Nashville,” lead singer Gabe Simon said. “We were a bunch of friends making music in college and we really liked the way we played so we got on the road.”

Simon describes the band’s sound as a modern and more aggressive version of Fleetwood Mac mixed with some male-female vocal interplay and orchestral instrumentation.

“We want to create intelligent music that doesn’t require a secret handshake to get involved,” Simon said. “We call ourselves the family band because we like the idea of what family means — just being together and supporting each other.”

But don’t be fooled by the folksy-peasant look. Kopecky Family Band is not a stage full of banjos.

“If you’re coming expecting a folk-Americana band, you’re wrong,” Simon said. “We’re a rock band, but you’ll be laughing and crying and dancing and having fun.”

Buxton, the last band on the bill for Thursday night, is a folk rock band that calls Houston home.

The band got started about nine years ago, with two guitarists and a bassist playing together. They didn’t initially intend on making folk music.

“Based off those early songs, we were just trying to find something that fit and that felt good,” bassist Chris Wise said. “It was kind of all over the place stylistically. Then we kind of found a groove and started doing folkier music. It wasn’t necessarily intentional, it just happened and it made sense.”

Because they have a banjo in a couple of their tracks, many people compare them to Mumford & Sons. But perhaps Wise’s favorite comparison was to the Flying Burrito Brothers.

This is one of Buxton’s first shows to play in a while, and they’re excited to be back in Bryan, where they’ve previously played at the Stafford, the Palace and Revolution. They’re also excited to be crossing paths with their friends, The Eastern Sea.

“We’re really good friends with the Eastern Sea,” Wise said. “So it’s really cool that we get to share the bill with them.”

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