On Aug. 31, indie rock band Vinyl Theatre put out an album called Starcruiser.
On Sept. 7, they came to Columbus touring in support of said album.
At 12:07 a.m. on Sept. 8, as I sit here and begin writing this article, my ears are still ringing from the show and I’m still thinking about the smooth and refreshing, salted cream cold brew that the band’s singer and I bonded over.
To say the least, finally getting the opportunity to witness a Vinyl Theatre concert in real-life was exhilarating: Keegan Calmes, Nick Cesarz, and Chris Senner have a stage presence stronger than most and a genuine love for performing a memorable show for their fans (it’s not every day you see a band actually come out to meet people after the show anymore, especially for free).
The Starcruiser tour, which kicked off in Chicago on Sept. 5, features the support of bands The Catching and Royal Teeth, two high-energy acts that hyped up the crowd to an unexpected degree.
“Tonight’s one of the highlight nights,” frontman Keegan Calmes said about the show at the Basement. “Just because Columbus has always been really strong behind us, and we’re from the midwest but we’re not from here so it’s very, I guess humbling, because we can go however many hours away and people still line up here … it’s always good here.”
The Wisconsinite band has plenty of good memories from all of their years coming to Columbus, including their first time playing the capital city in support of Twenty One Pilots.
The trio also mentioned that they went to Columbus’s own North Market and ate pierogies (but not bubble tea, which is disappointing). They also recalled fond memories of previous stops at 16-Bit Bar + Arcade and Dirty Frank’s, two Columbus staples.
“Never had a bad one here,” Calmes said.
Starcruiser is the band’s third full-length album, but it’s the first one that they produced by themselves.
“When we first started, we didn’t know the first thing about production,” Calmes said. “And now … Nick’s gone from maybe not knowing much about it to pretty much mastering it. And so he did all the production, and mixing … and we did everything,” he said.
“Every synthesizer [Senner and Cesarz] made from scratch or used really unique plug-ins … it’s way more hands-on. We didn’t have a major record label behind us for this one,” Calmes said. “[Complete] 180 from when we started.”
“The first song that we released [for Starcruiser] was ‘Feel it All,’ and it’s a kinda pump-you-up song, and we wrote it because I feel like we needed it. We had kinda received some bad news and had to come together as a band and decide, ‘hey, what are we gonna do next here?’ And we wrote this song that kinda fired us up,” Calmes said.
When it comes to the writing process, the band goes back and forth.
“It’s almost like, ya know, you have the song writing component and you have like, the musical part of it, too,” Cesarz said. “We kinda want to bring those together. We don’t wanna just … be a songwriter, and then send it to the producer…”
“[It’s] very much so a team job,” Calmes said, not only about songwriting, but also the entirety of being in a band.
Vinyl Theatre seems to be one of those bands who, no matter what, will continually bring something exciting to the table. Whether it’s wearing space-themed jumpsuits on stage or producing their own album, the trio seemingly has no limits, and with any luck they’ll keep on going.