In the three years since PictureYes released debut-album Rival, a lot has changed. The band now features bassist Lindsay Manfredi on lead vocals, for one thing. And they've developed quite the reputation as a touring band, opening regularly for Buckcherry, Jane's Addiction and Saving Abel in venues across the country. It is the latter which will bring them back to Indianapolis for a hometown show at the 5th Quarter Lounge on August 19, giving local fans the chance to hear the new sound firsthand as the band shows off new songs they've yet to officially release.
“Our former lead singer had a wife, kids, a job, and he wanted to focus on that,” says drummer Justin Escue. “So we started looking for a new singer, and Lindsay has fronted several bands prior to being in PictureYes. And in the midst of looking for a new singer, we figured it out: 'Hey, Lindsay, why don't you just sing?' So we did a couple rehearsals like that and it was great! And people love seeing a girl rocker up there singing, playing bass.”
“Yes, the last entire leg of the tour I've been singing,” Manfredi adds. “And there was a great response, we even had people who came to see us again who were thrilled to hear a new singer and were very supportive of the new act vs. the old act. We're definitely writing more as a group now, where before our old singer wrote a lot of the music. Everyone has more freedom to bring ideas to the table so it's a lot more of a collaborative effort, in my opinion.”
The band has teamed up with Saving Abel extensively in the past, opening for the band on their last three legs of national touring, encompassing an entire US tour. Manfredi says the experience has given her the chance to fully embrace being the band's up-front focus.
“This was my first time going across the United States, and being a supporting act has been the best thing for us,” she says. “People go in knowing Saving Abel and they don't know PictureYes so much, so it's definitely a better situation going in for us. Now that we've been to these cities we've gotten great response.”
Having now introduced themselves to listeners in cities throughout the country, Escue says PictureYes now plans to return to each city in a headlining role. “That was the idea of going out as a supporting act in the first place,” he explains. “You build it up first and then a year later you can go back as a headliner and reach out to the same crowds as before. In a perfect world we'll get to bring another band with us and complete the cycle.”
Though the band has a new album in the works, Manfredi is also pulling double-duty as she continues to write and play bass for Jacksonville-based Cold. So there's a lot on the table and not much set in stone. Though Manfredi says she'd love to do something big in Indianapolis when the band does release the new album, Escue says he's more lukewarm on that.
“It's just funny you mention Indianapolis because, try as we might, it is still hard to get love in our own hometown,” he says. “We come across all these bands that we travel with all the time on the road, and we all have the same story. People will find out where you're from and they'll go 'Hey, let us play a show with you in Indy' and we're like, 'that's often the worst crowd we have!'
He attributes a great deal of that to media obsession with the descriptor 'local,' a word he says is overused. Most of the band grew up in Central Indiana, so there's something of a tug-of-war going on, wanting to be successful as part of the regional scene, while showing that regardless of where the band formed, above all they're here to rock everyone.
“When you're a struggling band like we are, you have to give people in your hometown the perception that you're out there working to be successful,” Escue says. “And every time, for some reason, you get referenced by anybody in your own hometown they label you as a 'local' band. PictureYes, we're a rock band … it's not necessary to label someone like that. I know that's not going to solve all the problems, but it is a first step in really building an audience. We should want more than just being played on X103 on Sunday night. [Editor's note: X103 is now Alt1033, and NUVO Music Editor Katherine Coplen hosts that Sunday night local show, which is called Locals Only.] If they would do that radio program and they would play those songs and not say it's local, I bet you people would pay more attention.”