Nashville-based band uses popular influences for indie sound

Francie Johnson

The first time indie-rock band The Young International was supposed to perform in Tuscaloosa, the group was forced to cancel last minute due to rain.

The kicker? It was an indoor show.

“We showed up to the venue, and apparently there was a huge storm the night prior,” lead singer Kaleb Jones said. “The roof was leaking like crazy, and the venue was pretty much flooded. We were quite surprised to have an indoor show rained out.”

The Young International now has a second shot to play in Tuscaloosa; the band is slated to headline Thursday at Green Bar.

Jones attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he met lead guitarist Chase Gregory, bassist David Deaton and drummer Thomas Doeve.

It can be difficult to stand out in the Nashville, Tenn., music scene, but the band said the city has its perks.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Jones said. “We feel like even though it’s hard to be in Nashville, it only makes the people there better. We’d rather have that competitiveness.”

David Allen, Green Bar’s event coordinator, booked The Young International based on a recommendation by fellow Nashville, Tenn., band MODOC.

“Harmonies seem to distinguish great bands from OK ones, and these guys have it down,” Allen said. “They aren’t just tight, either. It’s polished, but still rock ‘n’ roll.”

Despite The Young International’s previous mishap in Tuscaloosa, the band has plenty of experience performing in college towns.

“There’s definitely a different vibe [in college towns],” Jones said. “There’s a certain energy. Depending on the school, there’s a party energy; there’s a looseness; there’s a carefreeness. We like to have fun and we have lots of fun in college towns ‘cause we know everyone is out to have fun with us.”

The band uses that same spontaneity when writing music.

“We try to keep our listeners on their toes,” Jones said. “We try to use popular influences and say, ‘How can we tweak this to make it our own?’”

Allen said he can identify some of these popular influences in both the band’s persona and sound.

“They’re confident, but not going through the motions,” Allen said. “It’s swagger. They’re more Rolling Stones than Beatles in that respect, though they probably sound more like The Kinks, if The Kinks made music for dance floors.”