10th Concession: For these brothers, life keeps getting better
(All this week, we’re spotlighting tbt*’s 2011 Ultimate Local Artists on Soundcheck. Today: 10th Concession.)
Evan Koteles has a clever parallel for the stylistic differences between himself and his brother, Ian.
“Our writing styles are like different radio stations,” he said. “Ian is a 100.7 writer, and I’m a 97X writer.”
It’s an apt description of 10th Concession’s music: Equal parts adult alternative and modern rock. But if they continue their ambitious schedule of songwriting and performing, before long, they’ll be known well beyond the airwaves of Tampa Bay.
As purveyors of wholesome, hummable pop music, the brothers Koteles aren’t your typical independent rock band. But their unabashedly “radio-conscious” sound, as Evan puts it, has helped 10th Concession book more gigs than many more seasoned bands. They’re weeknight warriors, performing as a duo or a full band as often as possible around Tampa Bay, mixing originals and covers for hours at a time. Last year, they played some 200 shows, including many weeks where “we pretty much played every night,” Ian said.
“Every charity event, every backyard birthday party, whatever there was to play, we played it,” Ian said.
They believe this can be their career. They’ve seen what it’s like to live as professional musicians, spending much of 2007 and 2008 in Nashville. There, they worked with what Evan calls a “songwriting factory,” writing with professional songwriters and studio musicians to record their self-titled debut album.
Both Ian and Evan started playing instruments at around age 10, but didn’t begin writing music together until Ian was off at college. Their father, Albi, played drums in the early days.
Through Craigslist searches and their father’s network of musician friends, they eventually found a lineup that works for them. Matt Brady, who’s into blues and classic rock, is their bassist. Their drummer, David Daniels, recently left to have a child, but they’re working with a new drummer who seems promising.
As the band evolved, so did their sound. Harmony, melody, musicality and tight songwriting come first. They admire mainstream artists like John Mayer, Sister Hazel and the Eagles, and some of their newer songs are outsized, sing-along anthems in the vein of Snow Patrol and Coldplay.
“It’s always interesting to hear other people say what bands we sound like,” Evan said. “Our favorite review was something like, 'America/’70s rock meets Lifehouse/modern-day arena rock.’”
In December, 10th Concession hosted a release party for their new EP, which includes a song titled It Gets Better. Based on the viral gay and lesbian support campaign, it was meant to be a song of hope for the bullied and overlooked. The event raised $5,000 for the Tampa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). “We’ve never had that much money in our treasury,” said Frank Roder, co-chair of the Tampa chapter.
For 10th Concession, sure, the song was a bit of an attention grab. But it was a sincere one, and the brothers were thrilled with the tangible results.
“I ended up going on YouTube and watching testimonials of people who were going through this,” said Ian, who wrote It Gets Better. “When it’s something that’s that real, that detrimental, it moves you. It just kind of came naturally.”
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo/video: Edmund Fountain, tbt*