MUSIC BOX: The Social Animals Persevere

By on January 19, 2016

Portland indie-rock/pop band will make their Jackson debut.

The Social Animals are unleashed on the Town Square Taven Tuesday. On Saturday Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation delivers his skills behind the decks during a special DJ set at the Pink Garter.

The Social Animals are unleashed on the Town Square Taven Tuesday. On Saturday Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation delivers his skills behind the decks during a special DJ set at the Pink Garter.

Jackson, WY – In the current age of indie act touring, bands fighting for your attention with every inkling of an opportunity to step it up to the next level, it’s refreshing to get to know a great sounding band that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The Social Animals, a Portland-via-Duluth quartet, speak through elegantly sarcastic and thoughtful lyrics splattered across a canvas of indie rock and Americana instrumentation.

It further explains via their website that, “They don’t do backflips at their live shows or slide across their knees into guitar solos. Instead, they play their music passionately and honestly, leaving room for a shirt-staining dance party in a crowded club, or one too many glasses of wine and a cab ride home from a listening room. Between songs, their dry commentary on the status of their lives and the world around them often causes people to look up from their phone screens, an action known to be scary and difficult for people throughout the nation.”

Band members Dedric Clark (vocals, guitar), Tony Petersen (vocals, banjo, guitar), Boyd Smith (drums), and Roger Whittet (vocals, bass) debuted in 2014 with the self-titled release “Dedric Clark and the Social Animals.” Just a couple of year’s after diverting from playing under the Diet Folk moniker during their previous run in Minnesota, they eventually dropped Clark’s name, settling on simply The Social Animals. Birthed from an array of songs and collaborators across a three-year timespan and recorded in the iconic Oceanway Studios in Nashville under the guidance of Grammy-winning producer/engineer Ben Fowler (Clapton, Skynyrd, Rascal Flatts), the debut album marks a turning point in the band’s career.

“Ben saw our video for ‘Cold’ and invited me to his home studio. It was like a mini-audition that I didn’t know was going to be an audition at the time,” Clark told Unsung Musicians. “He asked me a lot of questions about what I was about and had me play a few songs. Afterwards, he told me he would love to work together. He’s helped me and helped all of us move forward into music we never would have been able to make otherwise.”

Since that interview, the band has had a trying year on the road. From losing all their gear from the back of a crummy trailer, to constant breakdowns both mechanically and mentally, it’s the stage that truly makes them Social Animals.

The Social Animals, 10 p.m., Tuesday at Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-3886.

Thievery Royalty Returns

When founding Thievery Corporation member Rob Garza steps behind his rig for a DJ set, it’s an altered wall of sound.  After bringing the house down during his performance with Thievery Corporation this past summer at Contour Fest, Garza has left Jackson audiences sick with anticipation for his return.

Influenced by international travel, his involvement with La Santanera and Canibal Royal in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, as well as his move from D.C. to San Francisco, Garza draws energy and inspiration from intimate audiences and immediate culture.

“When I first came to San Francisco, I returned to my electronic roots in the dance community while also spending a great amount of time in Mexico, where there is a great dance music scene,” Garza said. “There’s so much going on in terms of people taking influences from all these different genres – like house and dub and new wave and disco – and putting it all together in a way that’s very new and original and inspiring to my own music.”

While Garza’s style is often referred to as deep house and nu-disco, his electronic flares have an infusion of dub, trip-hop, reggae and Bossa Nova. Rob Garza DJ Set, 9:30 p.m., Saturday at the Pink Garter Theatre. E.R.A. opens. $20., 733-1500. PJH

Aaron Davis is a songwriting troubadour, multi-instrumentalist, founding member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, and host of Songwriter’s Alley.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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