On Stage Extra: Dreamers hit the road again

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 


After sitting back waiting a long time for the pandemic to pass, Dreamers, a pop rock duo featuring Nick Wold and Nelson, has shaken off the rust and is on the road again.

They are in the middle of their “The Cameras & Coastlines” co-headlining tour with Smallpools – a tour that touches down locally on November 13 at Brooklyn Bowl (1009 Canal Street, Philadelphia, www.brooklynbowl.com/philadelphia).

“We’re back on tour after a two-and-one-half-year hiatus,” said Wold, during a phone interview Thursday from “somewhere in Maryland.” “Before that, we toured non-stop for five years.”
Wold and Nelson combine grunge and art-school eccentric pop to deliver a cocktail of high-spirited, infectious indie rock.

In 2016, the band released its debut full-length album, “This Album Does Not Exist” – a title reminiscent of the Residents’ “Not Available” album. Dreamers’ debut featured the Top 10 Alternative radio hit, “Sweet Disaster.”

Three other songs also charted nationally — the ’90s throwback “Drugs,” the crooning “Wolves (You Got Me),” and the soulful, brisk power-pop of their single “Painkiller.”

In 2019, Dreamers released their sophomore LP, “Launch Fly Land.” The album featured the Top 10 alternative radio hit “Die Happy.” In 2020, the band released two more alternative radio hits – “Heat Seeker” ft. grandson and the dark-pop love song “True Crime” ft. DeathByRomy.

In 2021, the two talented musicians came back with yet another collaboration teaming up with legendary rapper Big Boi and UPSAHL for “Palm Reader,” from the EP of the same name. To kick off 2022, the band released infectiously catchy “Black Confetti,” “Body Language” (ft. Kiiara) and “Robbery” (ft. Sueco).

“I live in Echo Park in L.A. and have a home studio there,” said Wold. “I made tons and tons of new material during the pandemic.”

Dreamers released the “All Hallows Dream” album on October 8, 2022.

In addition to “Black Confetti,” which has over 24 million collective views on TikTok, and “Robbery,” the album featured tracks with somewhat dark titles — “Painkiller,” “Die Happy,” “Still Not Dead,” “Brainless,” “True Crime,” “Vampire in the Sun,” “Zombie” and “Wolves (You Got Me).”

Dreamers is a band with its own very distinct identity. They create well-constructed catchy pop songs with strong hooks and interesting instrumentalization. More importantly, Dreamers is a band intent on making music that matters – music that can effect a positive change in our lives – music that taps into the “make the world a better place” vibe of the late 1960s.

On its website, the band has posted its manifesto – “We are impractical. We do not listen to those who doubt us. We push the boundaries. We believe that nothing is impossible. We rewrite the rules. We create. We are boundless. We are enchanted. We are asleep to the waking world. We are dreamers.”

The band’s history dates back to when Wold moved from Seattle to New York when he was 18.

“I went to New York to go to college at New York University’s Steinhardt School,” said Wold. “I went there to study jazz saxophone. I played a lot of different saxes but my main one was alto.

“I went to school and bartended one night a week. I lived in a practice space in Brooklyn, so I wasn’t paying rent for an apartment.”

In New York, Wold was the lead singer and guitarist in the grunge band Motive — along with drummer Chris Bagamery, bassist Andrew McGovern, and lead guitarist David Leondi.

McGovern, Bagamery, and Wold were longtime friends from Seattle who grew up playing jazz together. Wold met Leondi at NYU, and the trio became a quartet. Motive toured the states several times and had nine showcases at SXSW in 2013.

“Motive was my band,” said Wold. “It didn’t work creatively. I picked up the scraps. I had been living and writing songs in a Brooklyn rehearsal space.

“I met bassist Marc Nelson, and he liked my songs. Chris Bagamery and I teamed up with him to form Dreamers. Our first single, ‘Wolves (You Got Me),’ was released in July 2014 and was in rotation on Sirius XM‘s Alt Nation.”

In February 2015, Dreamers signed a deal with Fairfax Recordings. “This Album Does Not Exist” and “Launch Fly Land” were both released via Fairfax. After a time in New York, Dreamers relocated to Los Angeles.

“I still identify as a New Yorker,” said Wold. “I was raised in Seattle in the muddy waters of grunge in the 1990s. I hid it deep for a while. Then, I edged closer to grunge. I wanted to express things to people in a way they understand.”

Post-pandemic Dreamers music has evolved.

“It feels like a very new band creatively,” said Wold. “It’s heavy rock-and-roll. It feels like more angst is out there. There are high suicide rates. There is a weird new depression of the soul.

“But it’s exciting. Now is the time to make music that is heavier. It’s also exciting that we’re touring again, and people are coming to shows.”

Video link for Dreamers – https://youtu.be/NhMHtG6Eghw.

The show at Brooklyn Bowl, which also features Smallpools with special guest Young Rising Sons, will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25.

Vision Video

Vision Video has found a welcoming home in Philadelphia this year — a welcoming home by entertaining fans at three venues that are located just blocks apart.

In April, the band played at Silk City Diner. In July, the Georgia-based band did a show at Kung Fu Necktie.

On November 15, Vision Video will headline a show at PhilaMOCA (531 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, philamoca.org).

Vision Video is an Athens-based post-punk Goth band that released its debut album, “Inked in Red,” in 2021. The group just released its sophomore album, “Haunted Hours,” on October 11.

Dusty Gannon is the founder and leader of Vision Video. He is joined in Vision Video by classically trained pianist Emily Fredock on keys and vocals, Dan Geller (producer behind synth-pop act, I am the World Trade Center) on bass and Jason Fusco (of the punk band Shehehe) on drums. The album was produced by Tom Ashton (The March Violets), who also produced “Inked In Red.”

“We’re doing 33 dates in 37 days,” said Gannon, during a phone interview Friday while travelling through Ontario to a gig in Montreal.

“The new album came out about a week-and-a-half before we left on tour. It’s been bizarre putting out something so closely to a tour.

“But people are telling us how they feel about it and what they enjoy. There are songs that people already know the lyrics to.

“We did put out stuff strategically prior to the release of the album – five singles. It’s just a strategy for the way records come out now. Putting out a number of singles garners attention for the album.

“We’re still an independent act. We’re not beholden to a label. Earlier this year, we did a cover of The Cure’s ‘Pictures of You.’ We can do what we want.

“Time moves on. We have a sense of our own unique identity. We’ve become fully ourselves.”

Prior to the start of this tour, Gannon spent years as a paramedic and firefighter in the Athens, Georgia area.

“I just left the fire department to concentrate solely on the band,” said Gannon. “I’m going to play this out.”

If someone he rescued were shown a picture of Gannon in his role as lead singer Vision Video, his or her response might be – “I have no idea who that person is.”

If fans of Vision Video were shown a picture of Gannon in his firefighter gear, their response might be – “We don’t know who that dude is.”

The confusion is understandable.

Gannon the singer has a look that features eye makeup, black lipstick and torn fishnet clothing.

Gannon the emergency worker has a look that features firefighting gear, boots and a helmet.

Gannon is not a schizophrenic. He is simply a Goth musician who likes working as a lifesaver and U.S. Army Afghanistan veteran who likes writing and performing dark music.

“I was an Infantry officer in the Army,” said Gannon. “The first album was based on my experience in the Army and in Afghanistan.”

That experience includes bouts with PTSD, periods of dealing with depression and the challenges of returning to civilian life – common factors in the lives of many war veterans. Being an emergency service worker also has helped.

“I’ve been a firefighter and paramedic in this area for the last five years,” said Gannon.

Fortunately for Gannon, writing and performing music has provided an avenue to deal with all the stress – a means for catharsis.

“We started in 2018 and fully formed in 2019,” said Gannon. “Our music is a fusion of British rock from the late 70s and early 80s, post-punk and Athens bands like REM and the B-52s.

“The influence of The Cure is most obvious. I admire their ability to change and still retain their identity.

“A lot of bands coming out of Athens have influenced my guitar playing. We even took our name from a now-closed video store in Athens.

“When it started, I was working at the Georgia Theater, and Jason and I started talking about music. I was posting music online and Jason came over and put drums to it. Dan heard it, liked it and approached us. Then, we met Emily through mutual friends.

“We recorded much of the first record in 2019. Then, the pandemic hit. Throughout the pandemic, I decided to spend more time with it. As a result, I added a few more songs.

“We recorded the 10-song album at SubVon Studio in Athens with producer Tom Ashton. We held back the album release until April 2021. We built a lot of social media content prior to the release.”

“The album got good reviews, but we waited a little while to tour. We played some regional shows for a while. Then, we did an external tour in late 2021 and then another in March and April this year.

Vision Video has turned its attention to its sophomore album, “Haunted Hours.”

“We started in earnest in October,” said Gannon. “I had the groundwork laid a year after the first album came out. The recording occurred in March 2022 – three weeks total at Tom’s studio. It was a really enjoyable experience.

“We wrote a lot of parts in the studio – wrote and edited on the fly. This one was unique because it was written collectively in a room together. This was written more systematically — 10 songs structured to everybody’s strengths. It came together really quickly.”

“Haunted Hours” is an album filled with musical and emotional intensity.

According to Gannon, “We’re insanely proud of this 10-track album recorded at SubVon Studios. It is a sort of memoir of my observations and emotions during the past several years, having experienced quite a lot of death, due to the pandemic and otherwise.

“It’s about grief, loss and societal breakdown. It’s about watching systemic lies kill and the callousness of humans due to mass ignorance. It’s about mental health failing as the world falls apart, but still finding hope in the cracks.”

The latest single – and the most powerful song on the album – is the title track, “Haunted Hours.”

According to Gannon, “The inspiration for the ‘Haunted Hours’ single came late one night when I had posted a TikTok video where I was talking about my love for the band The Cure. One of our fans, Heather, had commented about how her late husband and her used to really love The Cure, so I asked her about him. His name was Ben, and they were very much in love. When she suddenly lost him, her life was shattered, and she was forced to constantly live with reminders of him.

“I wrote this song with her story in mind because I have seen this happen so many times. I’ve had to tell so many people’s loved ones that they had passed away, and it is very common for those left behind to talk about all the beautiful, wonderful context of that person’s life. It’s really easy to get caught up in the drama of the immediate aftermath of someone’s death, but the reality is that loved ones carry a deep, profound sense of loss and part of them is taken away.

“But there is all the while a deep appreciation and beauty in the memories that people hold on to, and that is exactly what I wanted to capture in this song. I wanted to capture the ache of loss, the weight of grief and the appreciation of memory all at once.”

Countless days in a war across the globe and years as an emergency worker in a major city have brought Gannon face-to-face with death more times than he’d like to remember.

“I’ve seen my fair share of mortality,” said Gannon. “I’ve had to tell many people that their loved one has just died. It’s given me a perspective on life and death.

“With the new single, I just wanted something to acknowledge sadness and loss but also remembrance.”

Video link for Vision Video — https://youtu.be/4zOYHDJaNC0.

The show at PhilaMOCA on November 15 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $ $18.64

The Crossing

Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing gives the world premiere performance of Michael Gordon’s “Travel Guide to Nicaragua” at Congregation Rodeph Shalom (615 North Broad Street,Philadelphia) on November 16 at 7 p.m. and again on November 17 at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Avante-garde cellist Maya Beiser joins The Crossing for the long-awaited premieres, which were postponed due to the pandemic.

The Crossing (www.crossingchoir.org) is an American professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia. The Crossing is conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. It is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir.

Many of its nearly 120 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues. With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 19 releases and received two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and three Grammy nominations in as many years.

With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 27 releases, receiving two GRAMMY® Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and seven Grammy nominations. The Crossing, with Donald Nally, was the American Composers Forum’s 2017 Champion of New Music. They were the recipients of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America.

“Travel Guide to Nicaragua,” which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, presents the story of composer Michael Gordon’s family and their journey as Jewish refugees traveling from Poland to Nicaragua. The autobiographical work stems from interviews about Poland recorded by Gordon’s father and uncle.

At the intersection of memory and emotion, many of these interviews contain variations and contradictions either from lost memory or his father’s choice not to speak about his homeland “as most of that life, the people and places, were completely annihilated.”

“Travel Guide to Nicaragua” is the second of a series of autobiographical works (following Anonymous Man) written by Gordon for The Crossing.

The world premiere performance of “Travel Guide to Nicaragua” is co-produced in partnership with Congregation Rodeph Shalom further emphasizing the work’s ties to Jewish history, culture, and community. Congregation Rodeph Shalom, established in 1795, is the oldest Ashkenazi congregation in the Western Hemisphere. As the only Reform congregation in Center City Philadelphia, Rodeph Shalom provides the Jewish community profound connections through transformative study, prayer, and urban engagement.

Beiser has been captivating audiences worldwide, bringing a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music, experimenting with various musical styles, and defying conventional norms with her boundary-crossing performances. Hailed as “the reigning queen of avant-garde cello” by The Washington Post, she has been called a “cello rock star,” by Rolling Stone and praised as “a force of nature,” by The Boston Globe.

Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, by her Argentinean father and French mother, Beiser spent her early life surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, while studying classical cello repertoire. At the age of 12, she was discovered by the late violinist Isaac Stern who became her mentor throughout her early career.

Beiser is a 2015 United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow in Music; a 2017 Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; and was recently a Presenting Artist at the inaugural CultureSummit, held in 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach, CA, Maya’s 2011 TED Talk has been watched by over one million people and translated to 32 languages.

Video link for The Crossing – https://youtu.be/-vwiDF8pD1c.

Video link for Maya Beiser — https://youtu.be/C6KMcwR43FE.

The show on November 16 will start at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $20-$35.

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