IT’S ONE of the most ambitious and innovative music projects we’ve seen locally in quite some time.
On three consecutive weekends, A Fragile Tomorrow will be at El-Rocko performing three legendary albums, track for track, all the way through:
Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light,” is first, this Friday.
They perform My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” on Friday, Sept. 20.
And The Clash’s immortal double record, “London Calling” rounds out their Classic 3 residency on Friday, Sept. 27.
They’re twinning the residency at Charleston’s Royal American.
Guitarist Brendan Kelly says the idea of the Rocko residency came about when he and his friends “were trying to think of something different than just playing regular shows. We wanted a challenge. So we were like, sure, let’s learn three hours of music,” he laughs.
A Fragile Tomorrow “don’t really do a lot of covers,” he says, “but we thought if we were to do some kind of covers show we would do something really niche and specific to our interests. So we were like, what if we just covered a bunch of albums we really love?”
The band reached out to Kyle, who does booking at El-Rocko, and “we started going back and forth brainstorming a bunch of records,” Kelly recalls. “We narrowed it down to ten or so, and Kyle helped us pick which ones might do well at that venue. And we said, cool, let’s do these three.”
Kelly says the three disparate but beloved albums “ended up being perfect choices. They represent three different aspects of the kind of music we like. Different from one another, but related in their own ways.”
A Fragile Tomorrow comprises Brendan on guitars, his brother Sean Kelly (also Connect’s A&E Editor) on vocals and guitar, Shaun Rhoades on bass, and Kyle Polk on drums. Matt Megrue will contribute some vocals and guitar for the “London Calling” homage.
Here’s how Brendan breaks down the Classic Three:
Remain In Light: “That’s probably the biggest challenge for Sean, lyrically as well as with the spoken word stuff. Musically it’s a really fun challenge. It’s got a lot of layers but not typical of the kind of stuff most bands do. I mean, it’s Talking Heads! There are no riffs or stuff like that. To try and figure out how to do all those textures with just two guitars, bass and drums is a big challenge. There’s a lot of repetition involved, so musically it’s more about landing on the right textures.”
Loveless – “I would agree that this is sort of the odd man out of the three. We were kind of surprised when we announced it, and found out that it seems to be the one most of our musician friends are really excited about. I’ve never really heard a band cover any My Bloody Valentine live. It’s also very textural, but obviously in a different way than ‘Remain In Light.’ The biggest challenge is how you fill out that much sound. We’ll have lots of fuzz pedals onstage that night!”
London Calling – “All these albums are each intimidating in their own ways, but ‘London Calling’ has the biggest factor of, ‘We have to get these songs right.’ Talking Heads is pretty loose and we’re free to explore. ‘Loveless’ is about trying to get a really huge sound. But ‘London Calling’ is all about the songs. People who are gonna come hear that record are going to want to hear that record. And it’s really a perfect album – I’m not sure anything better has ever been recorded at that length.”