Vengono da Atlanta, Georgia. Hanno già una ricca discografia alle spalle grazie alla quale la stampa americana li ha definiti, non a caso, “una delle migliori formazioni di garage-rock moderno”. Nel loro suono però ci sono anche richiami al pop dei sixties (Kinks su tutti) e un approccio tanto anacronistico quanto vincente. Sul palco del Festival si faranno conoscere e apprezzare anche dai più esigenti.
GRINGO STAR - CONTROLLED BURN (LIVE IN ATLANTA)
Over the past decade, Gringo Star have made a name for themselves as one of Atlanta’s most valuable rock & roll exports, carrying the torch for hazy, psychedelic garage rock in a city primarily valued for its contributions to hip-hop. Gringo Star have outlasted wave after wave of buzz bands and indie blog darlings, carving their own career path through constant reinvention and an unparalleled work ethic, amassing a loyal and enthusiastic international fanbase along the way. Their mind-bending take on doo-wop inspired R&B and British Invasion rock & roll has garnered praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Paste Magazine, KEXP & more, and landed them on bills alongside everyone from Cat Power and Feist to The Black Angels and Weezer, not to mention tours with Wavves, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, and their Atlanta-based contemporaries Black Lips.
Having reached their ten year anniversary, Gringo Star decided it was time to commemorate their career thus far by doing something they’d never done before: it was time to release their first live album. “A lot of my favorite records are old live albums and we’ve always wanted to have a live representation of what we do,” says vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Nick Furgiuele.
Coming this summer via Baby Robot Records, Gringo Star’s Controlled Burn is a 14-track live album recorded at The Earl, one of Atlanta’s premier rock & roll clubs, in September of 2018. The career-spanning setlist serves as a 10 year retrospective, compiling popular singles and deep cuts from all of their albums into one frenzied, sweaty celebration of Gringo Star’s music, performed before a rabid hometown audience.
From the opening of “Mr. Mystery,” off of 2018’s Back to the City, there’s a palpable electricity that permeates all of Controlled Burn. The band’s comfort on stage, honed over the course of thousands of shows, shines throughout the record as they allow the energy of the performance to flow unobstructed, speeding up and slowing down as the moment commands, but never falling out of sync with one another. This confidence is bolstered by the contributions from guitarist/backing vocalist Joshua Longino, violinist David Claassen, keyboardist/guitarist/percussionist Spencer Pope, and drummer Mario Colangelo who makes his recording debut with Gringo Star after touring with the band since 2017.
Newer tracks like 2018’s “La La La” are performed with as much passion as crowd favorites like “Make You Mine” off 2011’s Count Yer Lucky Stars, and are received with equal fervor by their fans. The diversity of the band’s sound is calculated and stands as one of the main reasons Gringo Star continues to shine. Guitarist/vocalist Peter Furgiuele says, “Throughout all of our albums, we’ve always been on a steady progression. We’ve been writing in basically the same way since we started, but with each record we’ve refined the process and have always pushed to try something new on each record. We just don’t want to ever repeat ourselves.”
Though 2008’s All Y’all serves as the start of Gringo Star’s storied career, the band’s core songwriting duo, the Furgiuele brothers, have been playing together since they were kids, born into a family with strong ties to Georgia music history. “Our grandad started out in radio in the ’40s and ’50s in Columbus, Ga.,” Nick explains. “He was a huge promoter of R&B back when it was still super segregated, and he was playing black music and putting on shows with Little Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, a lot of Gospel shows. So we grew up hearing all these stories, listening to all this music. Our grandfather was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame posthumously. And my grandma—all her photo albums are like Jackie Wilson shirtless backstage, hanging out.”
With their family’s R&B connections and their young obsession with early rock & roll, it wasn’t long before the two brothers started making music themselves. When Nick was 15 and Peter just 11, they picked up bass and drums, respectively, formed a rhythm section and joined their first garage band. “We played together in the house and messed around on a little two-track,” Nick says. “We’ve been writing songs together since before Peter was a teenager. We even played his 8th-grade dance.”
Eventually, the brothers formed Gringo Star and began the career that has come to define their last decade. All Y’all and Count Yer Lucky Stars forced the world to pay attention. 2013’s Floating Out To See found the band experimenting with producing their own records and layering more keys and strings into their compositions. 2016’s The Sides and In Between contained some of the finest songwriting of the Furgiuele’s career, and 2018’s Back to the City reinvigorated their sound with a new intensity, equally dark and shimmering.
Despite multiple personnel changes, Nick and Peter have remained steadfast in their partnership, continuing to stand by one another through thick and thin in their artistic endeavours. There’s no telling what comes next for Gringo Star, but there’s no doubt that the Furgiuele brothers will continue to write and record on their own terms. “We’ve had a lot of opportunities over the past ten years. If we had an idea about something we wanted to, we did it,” says Nick. “I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.