Lost and found
Athena McIntyre & The Lost Boys
On a sultry evening in Virginia City, Athena McIntyre & The Lost Boys took the stage at the historic Red Dog Saloon. A soulful yet edgy folk tune drifted out of the open doors and into the street, where passersby crowded the entrance. The sound was driven more by melodic intentions than by rhythm, but a groove still permeated into the crowd as they swayed along.
The group is a trio, formed in the spring of this year. The lineup consists of McIntyre, who heads the band with lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Aren Long on violin, and Eli Paxton on the bass.
The set-up is atypical, especially with the exclusion of drums. The instrumentation provides the intimacy of a string trio in the setting of folk rock, while varying musical backgrounds contribute to a postmodern take on the genre.
Long’s violin skills fit smoothly into the folk setting, but an occasional Saint-Saëns harkens back to his classical roots, while Paxton forgoes the pedestrian role of establishing the chord roots in favor of adding a funk-infused contrapuntal ingenuity with the bass line. Meanwhile McIntyre adds a rock edge to the group, with vocals akin to Pat Benetar and Pink.
The trio’s musical inventory is split fairly evenly among original songs and reorchestrated covers of classics by artists such as Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash and the Animals.
For each of their shows, the three construct the set list to be something of a musical journey, from songs about the dangers of conformity and consumerism, to finding one’s identity, to a particularly excellent cover of an angst-ridden rock hit, Radiohead’s “Creep.”
Athena McIntyre & The Lost Boys carries a message of punk rock individualism spoken through the storytelling language of an acoustic folk aesthetic. Sometimes the music reverberates with perceptive insights on society. Other times, it dances to the beat of freedom with a samba flair.
“We set up our shows carefully,” said Long. “People come in, and at best, they leave with gaining an emotional experience, and at worst they can come and listen and dance to good music.”
In the four months since the trio formed, its members have written an inconceivable amount of original music and played shows all around Northern Nevada. They already have their eyes set on a cross-country tour, which is in the works. Reaching that point so quickly is a feat that could only have been accomplished through each member’s musical professionalism, as well as the camaraderie between them, despite their differences in background and age.
Visually, the three seem to be an unlikely combination. For their concert, Long dons a button-down dress shirt, while Paxton ties his mane into a bun and McIntyre rolls up her sleeves to show off a myriad of forearm tattoos. But the bond between them is palpable.
“We work with each other so well,” said Paxton. “Our personalities just mesh. And when we play, it’s like we all go to another level together.”
So where did the name, Athena & The Lost Boys come from?
“One day I was driving and it just came to me,” laughed McIntyre, the eldest of the group. “I knew that it was perfect. I’m just like Peter Pan, and these are my lost boys.”