The Add+Ons are an immensely amusing band. Ranging in age from 13- to 16-years-old, this local teen punk band lacks the pretense and tendency to overstate that so many other bands have.
While they don’t look lost or scared on stage, the Add+Ons refrain from the usual rock star histrionics. No humping the guitars, no simulated euphoria after each song, no black makeup and no spraying the audience with body fluids. Instead, they just give off a friendly, laid-back vibe. In essence, audience members are never given cause to wonder if Satan has possessed the Add+Ons.
“That [gratuitousness] is why I hate emo music,” says bassist-singer Robin Pelliciarini. “I want to take a dump every time I hear it.”
It’s almost as if this band enjoys playing music, thinks it’s fun and wants to let the audience in on the good times.
“At this point, I don’t care about anything else,” says Pelliciarini. “It’s just so much fun to play gigs.”
The Add+Ons, composed of 13-year-old singer-guitarist Aaron Sion, 15-year-old Pelliciarini, and 16-year-old drummer Daniel Sion are still mostly a cover band. However, they don’t sound or act like one of those unfortunate, rankly amateurish garage bands that are only playing music to impress their dim girlfriends. The band mates are surprisingly refined considering their ages and the fact that they’ve only been together eight months. In that time, they’ve played at the Green Room and at Burning Man, with a Satellite gig on its way.
“We practice as much as we can,” Aaron says. “We practice every other weekend and when we have time after school.”
The work shows. During a 45-minute set, they only screwed up audibly once, and it was so small, it didn’t even distract the audience.
They cover a wide variety of styles, including a very faithful “My Generation” by The Who, a slightly offbeat cover of “Minority” by Greenday, and a funny punk version of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”
They also cuss, which coming from 13-year-old primary vocalist Aaron, is hilarious. During a cover of Greenday’s “Dukie,” sub-5-foot-tall, 85-pound Aaron asks, “Am I paranoid, or am I just stoned?” That’s good times.
The Add+Ons have a few original songs that are surprisingly well harmonized and pleasant to listen to. Swinging wildly from Maroon 5-like guitar riffs to pure punk thrashiness, “Bored” is especially good.
“We want to be original,” Aaron says. “We don’t want our stuff to be like what you hear on the radio, so it takes awhile to write.”
Despite their inexperience, the Add+Ons insist they’re trying to expand their original content. “Samuel Jackson,” for example, is inspired by Pulp Fiction, a film the band thinks highly of.
The biggest downside to the Add+Ons’ original songs is their lyrics, which aren’t super sophisticated or imaginative. However, Pelliciarini said that many of the original lyrics were rushed and that the band is working to improve them. The only other buzz kill is the obviously young voices trying in vain to sound like Billie Joe Armstrong. But only a true hater would let that drown out the experience.