The right way
After the recent closing of Ark-a’ik, there has been a dearth of all-ages venues in Reno. On a given night, you can still see a decent show at somebody’s house or go to an open mic, but those are probably better described as no-alcohol rather than all-ages locales.
Wrong Direction, a teenage pop-punk trio, along with three other bands, attempted to remedy this situation by renting the New Oasis for a night and successfully filled it with 300 screaming teenagers, plus a few adults drinking $4 Budweisers at the bar.
“Two days before the show, we had to rent our own security and get insurance, so we did lose money, but it was still an awesome concert,” says Weston Buck, the band’s bassist, vocalist and chief songwriter.
“We did better than we originally expected,” adds Jimmy Marshall, the band’s guitarist.
Along with Weston and Jimmy, the trio is rounded out by Jackson Buck on drums; he is also the producer and Web designer. Rosie Huff, Weston and Jackson’s mother, serves as the band’s manager and was the financier of the New Oasis show.
“It’s really hard to get shows, especially now,” says Weston.
“Unless I promote them,” says Rosie.
Wrong Direction’s sound inhabits the area where emo and pop-punk collide. Think Green Day and Blink-182 and move forward to Coheed and Cambria.
“Vocally, I started listening to New Found Glory, even though their singer is really nasal and probably not very good,” says Weston. “Then I got voice lessons and learned how to sing right. He kind of got me into singing.”
“Metallica got me started playing guitar,” says Jimmy. “I like Third Day, Relient K and The Juliana Theory. Those are my main influences on guitar.”
“Most people don’t understand what my lyrics are about,” explains Weston. “They just think it’s a bunch of nothing, but I actually have meanings for my lyrics.”
“All of them?” Jimmy and Jackson ask before laughing.
While the band does a competent interpretation of the emo sound, they suffer from the same affliction that plagues all emo: trying to deliver straightforward, unadorned emotional sincerity without sounding trite. Emo is situational; it is, to paraphrase Martin Amis, most effective when you’re going through the sort of emotional upheaval that restores the original power of a cliché.
The band’s better songs abandon the emo and stick with the punk. “Raise My Fist” sounds so much like an old-school punk anthem that I thought it was a cover. “Scratch and a Ticket,” a rap song, is reminiscent of the goofy humor of The Vandals.
What comes through clearly on record and on stage is how positive the band is and how much they love to perform. Throughout the New Oasis set, Jimmy would jump into the crowd with his cordless guitar and start a mosh pit.
“Our goal is just to be able to play in front of lots and lots of people, because we just love playing in front of people,” says Jimmy. “We don’t make any songs that are all ‘we hate this world, die’ kind of thing. We are always trying to do something positive because there are too many of these other bands that complain about everything in this world.”
“We write about the finer things," adds Weston.