The Young Republic is not the first rock band to be formed at the school lunch table. The eclectic, reflective, quirky bunch of young people are all second-year students at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, whose honorary doctors include Duke Ellington and Steven Tyler.
The fateful Berklee lunch table sat nine musicians competent on a slew of instruments, including trumpet, flute, piano, violin, viola, guitar, bass and drums, whose wide range of cultural and musical influences and abilities recently caught the attention of National Public Radio, which featured the band on its World Café program.
But neither the band’s collective imagination for composition, solid multi-instrumental musicianship nor the long arm of NPR could help to sell a single $5 ticket at the vacant Radio Radio on Wednesday night.
It seems that like so many other eclectic, reflective, quirky young people, The Young Republic’s greatest challenge is making friends.
The band’s in-store at the new Luna Music fared no better, obvious to one Young Republican when the store’s lone employee eventually “stopped clapping at the end of the songs.”
The band was good humored about the Indianapolis no-show and said they were happy just to rehearse in a space like Radio Radio, whose meticulous attention to sound complemented the deep scoring of their orchestral folk rock.
Their set was comprised of sloppy, lovesick indie tantrums that gave way to clean vintage pop with thick, patient orchestration and tireless structure. Unexpected instrumental narrative shifts conjured adventures that continued to unfold up to the very end of each dreamy folk song.
At the end of the set, The Young Republic loaded their gear in the back of a wooden wagon trailer hand-painted with their name and a reminder to “Stay Awake” and drove off in the rain to the bassist’s hometown of Louisville, where, with any luck, they found a few good listeners.