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Old and new collide in Dangerbyrd’s garage rock


If we lived in a perfect world, bands like Dangerbyrd would be the perfect bands. If we lived in an imperfect world, bands like Dangerbyrd would still be the perfect bands.

The Rochester-based quartet plays without a shred of phony grandeur or self-imposed elegance. Dangerbyrd is down and dirty and a clever musical synthesis of vintage and classic. Just dig the band's guitar-driven rock 'n' roll and astute lyrics howled over its garage rock rumble. It's old, it's new, and it's the unheard strain of something familiar. The band's drummer, Trevor Lake, weighs in on the whole vintage versus classic conundrum.

"I think a lot of bands try to sound classic by using vintage gear," Lake says from beneath his red coif.

"Like, they'll have a Vox Continental," singer and guitarist Alex Patrick adds in. "But no one in the group resembles anyone who can play the organ." To Patrick, it's all about the songs; songs that grab and don't let go.

Dangerbyrd — Lake, Patrick, guitarist Alex Coté, and bassist Schuyler Skuse — is a young band formed in September 2015 upon Joywave vocalist Daniel Armbruster's urging.

"We were hanging out with Dan at Lux," Patrick says. "And he was like, 'You're in a band?' I said no, and he said, 'Why not?'" Dangerbyrd's first show ended up being Armbruster's birthday party.

Like any band, Dangerbyrd has its influences. The group looks to acts that, despite serving up the rock red-hot and ready, also have a knack — or a commitment to — well-executed vocal harmonies. We're talking about The Band, Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield, and the inspiration for Dangerbyrd's misspelling, The Byrds.

But in the case of Dangerbyrd, these bands don't hang around to be venerated before an audience, recognized, and bled dry; they simply impart their influence and split. This just pushes the band into its search for its own sound and identity. Patrick is always on the lookout.

"We like all kinds of music, really," he says. "I've been getting into country western and playing pedal steel, trying to incorporate some of that stuff into our garage rock roots. I think our music is for those who like guitar."

Patrick also produces the band; his house is littered with analog ephemera, like instruments, mixing boards, and tape machines. Besides Dangerbyrd, he has produced both of Greg "Stackhouse" Prevost's solo records, "Mississippi Murderer" and "Universal Vagrant."

Studio aside, Dangerbyrd is a live band at heart. Even on the band's EP, two of the four tracks are captured live in a club with just the applause at the end giving it away.

Patrick says Dangerbyrd has the songs for the next record. The band isn't co-opting a borrowed song's sentiment or tone; these are originals all their own. "When we write a song," Coté says. "It's for our band. It's for us."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The article and caption have been updated to correct the spelling of Schuyler Skuse's name.