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Concert Preview: Guster

Grant Walters Grant Walters Concert Preview: GusterPhoto by Zoe-Ruth Erwin.
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Beloved Massachusetts-grown band Guster arrives in Columbus tonight as special guests on Dispatch’s current America, Location 12 summer tour. Both bands will take the stage at EXPRESS LIVE!’s outdoor pavilion. Denver’s Esmé Patterson will open.

Since forming at Tufts University in the early 1990s, Guster has become one of the leading indie/alternative bands, releasing seven critically acclaimed albums in twenty years, starting with Parachute in 1995. They just celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band earlier this year, with special sold-out anniversary shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre, and four nights at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club.

Guster’s latest album Evermotion, released on their own Ocho Mule label through Nettwerk Records, debuted at #1 on Billoard‘s Independent Record Label Current Albums chart, #2 on the Current Alternative Albums chart and #3 on the Top Rock Albums chart. Members Ryan Miller (vocals, guitar), Adam Gardner (guitars/vocals), Brian Rosenworcel (drums and percussion), and Luke Reynolds (guitar, bass, keyboards, and vocals) made a calculated departure from their traditional acoustic roots, opting to propel their still-recognizable memorable melodies with synthesizers, brass, and slide guitars.

“It is a testament to our ability to throw out everything that Guster was,” Ryan Miller explained to Mashable about the album’s direction.

“We threw out a lot, but melody wins. We’ve always been a melodic group – even in that first record. I think melody is what sort of ingratiated us with people. And melody still wins, and still we’re trying to write these different, kind of weird pop songs, different now than they were then. I mean, these are three-and-a-half minute verse/chorus songs, but we’re just wrapping them in different fixtures, and hopefully making them groovier and stonier.”

Even if you’re a Guster purist, it’s fun to listen to the results as they venture into electronic territory with tracks like “Simple Machine” and “Endlessly.”

To achieve their vision, the band recruited producer (and Shins keyboardist/The Black Keys bassist) Richard Swift.

“It wasn’t hard to figure out where we overlapped with Swift,” Brian Rosenworcel commented in a press release for the album. “It was just a matter of trusting ourselves to go big and commit. Richard is the type of artist that’s always standing back and taking in the whole canvas.”

After their stop in Columbus, Guster will continue its silver anniversary celebration with “Guster On The Ocean” in Portland, Maine this August — a full weekend of activities, highlighted by an August 12 concert at Thompson’s Point. The band and 200 fans will board a ferry that will cruise around Portland’s Casco Bay while Guster performs. They’ll then be joined for a portion of their set by the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra. The weekend concludes on Sunday, August 13 with a kayaking trip for a lucky contingent of lottery-selected fans from the Portland waterfront to a secluded location on the Casco Bay, where the band will perform an intimate acoustic set.

“I am excited for [our] fans to play in my back yard — well, maybe not literally — of Portland. We’ve put together a weekend of activities that showcases what makes Portland in its prime of summer so ridiculously awesome,” confirmed Adam Gardner. “Thompson’s Point is such a sweet location for a summer time show, right on the banks of the Fore River.”

Guster will perform tonight as special guests of Dispatch at EXPRESS LIVE!, 405 Neil Avenue in the Arena District. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; all seating is outdoor, general admission. Tickets are $43 plus taxes and fees and are available via TicketmasterGuster’s latest album, Evermotion, can be purchased via the band’s official website.

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