The Youth loft of the Village Presbyterian Church was packed. On the night of the Love 146 concert, the lights were dimmed except for two strands of fairy lights hung on the wall behind the stage. Up on stage, underneath strands of red and pink streamers, junior Bryan Bailey was losing himself in the music. He strummed his bass guitar, stage left, as Rockhurst junior Noah Spencer sang the lyrics to “Backseat,” one of the songs their band Township has just recorded as part of a demo.
You’ve got me running to the backseat of my car/You’ve got me running like the world is gonna stop
Bailey looked out into the crowd. Among the hundreds of people who’d turned out for the benefit concert, Bailey spotted four people singing along to their song. There they were, 17-years-old and part of a high school band, and people already knew the lyrics to their songs. Bailey couldn’t put how he felt into words, and he still isn’t sure he’ll ever be able to. It was crazy. It was amazing.
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The Love 146 concert wasn’t their first gig. The band, which includes Bailey on the bass, Spencer on the lead guitar and vocals, Blue Valley North junior Brooks Brown on keyboard and backing vocals and East junior Chaney Butner on drums, has been doing shows for years. Originally named Against the Generation, Township was started during the guys’ seventh grade year. They changed the name after losing a band member, and realizing they wanted the band to be more closely tied to their roots. On a cold November afternoon during lunch, Spencer and a few other guys suggested to Bailey that they start a band. They weren’t planning on becoming famous or globally known; they just wanted to have fun.
Although they had all been musicians prior to starting the band, with years of practice they’ve all gotten better and learned how to play off of each other. Currently, Township practices for three hours once a week. Since the band’s members are split between three different schools and all have different schedules, they find it hard to schedule any other time to rehearse. Typically during a rehearsal they’ll write songs, start jamming to songs on someone’s iPod or practice their own songs.
“Our first practice, I got there and they’re like, let’s play that Vampire Weekend song [‘A-Punk’],” Bailey said. “This was in seventh grade, and I [didn’t even] know what Vampire Weekend was. [At our first practice] we were just terrible, we were just absolutely disgusting and now we’ve evolved into something where every weekend I look forward to going to practice.”
Township started doing gigs back in middle school. The band would email different venues and send samples of their music, and then if the venues liked it, Township would then have a show scheduled. Once they started gaining a bit of recognition, and learned how to put themselves out there, they started getting more and more shows. They’ve performed at the Record Bar, the Czar Bar, Jerry’s Bait Shop, were the last band to ever play at the Beaumont Club and they now have regular gigs at Conroy’s Pub. Their most recent show at Conroy’s had an audience of about 75 people, and earned them enough money to pay for almost half of the recording fees for what will soon be their first album.
In April, Township will be traveling down to Austin, Tex. to record their first album. Spencer’s father, a marketing agent, knows the owner of the Tequila Mockingbird record label and sent them their demo. Eventually the label contacted the band and expressed interest in having Township come to Austin to record an album.
“I get really happy about [recording the album] because reality is really setting in that we’re going,” Bailey said. “And it’s really cool to feel like someone who doesn’t know who we are, doesn’t know our story heard our music and said ‘We want you.’”
After Township records and releases their album, they’re not entirely sure what will happen. The band plans on promoting it in their schools and on social media, but after that Township’s future is up in the air. The guys are currently planning on staying in the band and doing shows through their senior year, and then going to college. Their goal, since the start of the band, was to record a full-length album. Now that their dream is being realized, they’re just setting out to have fun.
Currently, Township is only known locally. However, the possibility of the band becoming big, becoming famous, is real. According to Bailey, if this turns out to be the case, their parents would most likely push them to continue on to college. But, anything could happen.
For now, the band will keep on doing shows and practicing until they head to Austin to record. Each day passed is just one day closer to completing their goal. They can’t wait.
“[The band has] really gone from just making sound to really making feelings,” Bailey said. “I can’t get enough of music, and I’m just so lucky to have these guys that feel the same way. I’m just so happy we have this now.”