After doing an email interview with Jason Turner, guitarist and lead singer for Fashion Week, I knew I would be in for a fun show when I had a chance to see them. As it so happens, they were able to jump onto the bill with Duluth, MN-based rockers The Social Animals, and I found myself heading over to the Rumba Café.
Turner himself is exactly what you’d expect from a front-man; energetic, exciting, and brimming with confidence. He also knows that you have to have fun with things if you want to survive. This might explain why I found him half-way over the back fence when I got to the venue.
“I was just having a little chat back there,” he laughingly said, “but then my legs got tired, so now I’m back down here!”
He introduced me to the rest of his fun-loving quintet for the evening – primary guitarist Tyler Earnest and bassist Andrew Lee, as well as drummer Matt Myers. David Carey was joining the group for the evening to add to the guitar flow, as well.
“Tyler, Andrew and I have put together most of the music, but we know Matt and David are great musicians and want to include them as much as possible.” Turner added. “If the five of us could play every show, that would be the best possible version of Fashion Week.”
Inside, it was already packed as they took the stage and finished tuning their instruments. In fact, there had been a line two dozen deep when I arrived. The band opened with We Are Found, which kicked off with a soaring guitar riff from Earnest. Lee’s bass bounced around like his tapping feet, while Carey and Earnest launched the song out of the building.
Lee’s bass thundered through the room on Beautiful Mess, featuring the poignant chorus line, “Let me see those sweet imperfections – it’s okay to be a misfit, not knowing how to fix it.” The song seemed built around Lee’s bassline and the pounding drums from Myers, perfectly in sync on this tune and throughout the night. It also featured an exploding solo from Earnest, which brought a huge smile to Turner’s face as he jumped around the stage.
The band transitioned immediately into Even When The Sun Goes Down, the lead track to their most recent EP, “Murfreesboro”. Turner dropped another catchy lyric in the first verse, “just because your heart has yet to find the mark, doesn’t mean that you can’t get there still…” It was an evening filled with surprisingly somber lyrics from the charismatic leader of the group, who intriguingly stood to the far left of the stage, allowing his guitarists to take advantage of the stage spotlights.
The band announced that November 2nd was a very special night to them, as it was the four year anniversary of the first time they have ever played out as a group. Turner said that the next song was one that they might have even played that night, titled Alabaster Baby.
He later told me that he wasn’t the type of person to write love songs, but he wanted to do something special for his wife so he wrote this one. It started with a slow acoustic line before Myers joined in and built the song from the ground up. Once again, Turner proved a clever lyricist with the line, “the future always looks amazing, with my Alabaster Baby.”
Up next was the immediately recognizable hit single Scars. Almost everyone in the crowd knew the words, while everyone else had their heads nodding and feet tapping. The song features an almost perfect mix of three chord harmony and an easy three-word chorus. It also seemed to be the loudest and most powerful sounding song of the night, although that might have just been all the people around me singing along.
Turner then announced that the next song, Tell Me Something, had only been played live twice before. It was hard to tell, with how well the five of them played together. Lee opened things up with another chunky bassline, was slowly joined by Carey, and later the rest of the musicians. It was a slower number that wasn’t quite as exuberant as the one before it, but Myers and Lee made sure to drive everything along.
“You might not have known any of the words to that one, but we’re sure you’ll know this one!” announced Turner as Earnest opened with the impossible-to-mistake opening chords of Coldplay’s Yellow. I’ll be honest with you – I’ve seen both bands perform it, and I was definitely more impressed with the sheer power that Fashion Week brought to song. Turner may not have had the same vocal prowess of Chris Martin, but Earnest and Carey’s guitars brought new life into Grammy-nominated classic. Turner told me after the show that they chose to cover Yellow because it was the type of song that would definitely be recognized by the crowd.
“I could do a more obscure cover,”he said, “but then the crowd wouldn’t be into it. We want to have fun. We want to invite people to enjoy our set!”
The final two songs of the evening were Gaslight, which Turner said had literally been written Monday and featured another bass-heavy intro, and Chutes and Ladders, which dialed the energy back down and left me somewhat confused as to why the group chose it to finish their set. The song almost seemed like a downer, but the guitars were still loud and the group was just as tight as when they had begun.
After seeing them perform live, I can tell you that the future seems incredibly bright for this group. Between the three main members, they’ve walked the walk and talked the talk in their many combined years in the scene, and they seem to have found the perfect rhythm between themselves to make something out of Fashion Week. They’ll be headed to Nashville to put together a new record over the winter, and I will be quite excited to see what they put together.
Credit all images: J Courtney / Music in Motion Columbus
- We Are Found
- Beautiful Mess
- Sun Goes Down
- Alabaster Baby
- Tell Me Something
- Yellow (Coldplay cover)
- Chutes and Ladders
Fashion Week – Scars