Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Indy-based band wins Hanson gig

By David Lindquist
Posted: August 22, 2010

Set to perform Monday as a supporting act for Hanson in Cincinnati, the Working Hour will play in front of more people than the Indianapolis-based band typically encounters at a bar gig.

Even more exciting, said Working Hour vocalist Andrew Riesmeyer, is that more than 1,000 Hanson fans will listen with open ears.

Original compositions are welcome and expected at the show, scheduled at Ohio amusement park Coney Island.

Elsewhere, the Working Hour faces a classic paradox for emerging musicians: Play your own songs for small audiences and little pay, or play cover tunes for decent money (and rarely squeeze in an original number).

Riesmeyer, drummer Peter Doherty, bass player Ethan Walden and guitarist John Newell have specialized in the latter.

"I don't know if we make much of an impact on that crowd," Riesmeyer said. "They're coming to hear covers. I don't know if they're looking for a new band."

The chance to share a stage with "MMMBop" sensation Hanson transpired because Walden submitted Working Hour music to website Ourstage.com, which hosted a competition for various unsigned acts to open for Hanson on the trio's "Shout It Out" tour.

(On Tuesday, the tour visits the Egyptian Room in Old National Centre. The Crawpuppies, based in Hobart, will appear as the Ourstage.com representative.)

Walden didn't tell his bandmates they were entered in the competition until the winners were announced.

"We're excited," Riesmeyer said. "It will be a crazy thing."

The Working Hour unveiled its piano-driven, power pop sound on 2009 album "Unbreakable." The band is nearing completion of a follow-up release.

Producer Jim Wirt (who's overseen albums by Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin and Live) works with the quartet locally and in Los Angeles.

Riesmeyer said new song "Stay Here," available for listening at MySpace.com/theworkinghour, reflects a move toward electronic textures and being more open to contemporary influences.

"People enjoy that," he said. "We want to have fun. We want to make a record that has at least a few songs that can be played at a party."

The 22-year-old alumnus of North Central High School said his new batch of lyrics has a focus that "Unbreakable" may have lacked.

"It's just part of getting older," Riesmeyer said. "You do something enough that you try to improve and hone your skills."

Riesmeyer, who counts piano man Ben Folds as an early influence, plays keyboards and some guitar in a live setting. He realizes one instrument carries more rock 'n' roll prestige than the other.

"A guitar looks cool," he said. "Do people play 'air keyboard'? No."

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