Familiar faces of Sage Boy, Fides and El Obo return to Oxford

Posted on Mar 9 2017 - 8:01am by Devna Bose

School is slowing down and spring break is nearing, but Proud Larry’s doesn’t show any sign of stopping its steady stream of soulful local bands, and this Friday night is no exception.

Fides and Sage Boy will be opening for El Obo this Friday night, and the Proud Larry’s stage is a familiar place for all three groups.

Sage Boy, a brand new project from the former members of Water Spaniel, was started in fall 2015 after Gray Secrest, drums, and Forrest Philpot, vocals and guitar, spent years dreaming about starting a band with a different vibe.

“We fantasized for a long time about starting a ‘dancey’ band that would still be dressed in sad music,” Philpot said.

Things quickly starting rolling after that point for the new project.

“From there, we met our friend Connor, who helped us initially write a handful of songs as another guitarist,” Philpot said. “We added Dylan Crouch on bass because Gray and I had both played with him in other bands and love and trust him, and we added Kacee on vocals and guitar after we realized none of our voices were as strong as we wanted for the music we were writing. I initially didn’t even want to sing, but Connor moved and the jobs all sort of changed in-band.”

The changes made have only strengthened Sage Boy’s thoughtful sound, and the band continues to write more and play more.

“Our sound is straightforward but sometimes thoughtful pop music for listening to after your team just lost the big game at home field,” Philpot said.

Band member Kacee Russell shared his sentiments stating, “I would say our sound goes in a lot of different directions, but it does end up having kind of an emo aftertaste a lot of times.”

She claimed her Hayley Williams-esque vocals certainly add to the overall sound with her strong Paramore influences.

“Also, Forrest just writes some damn good, real lyrics,” she said. “Also, I yell a lot.”

Sage Boy’s biggest influences are Tigers Jaw, Built to Spill and Turnover, which is what it’s been listening to in recent years, and bassist Dylan Crouch describes the band as a mix between Steely Dan and Brainiac.

“I like doing Sage Boy because it took a lot of present circumstances from each member and made it into a pretty bouquet – one that comes across as slightly tired or downtrodden I think, but in a way that is really easy to grasp onto if you’re in your 20s and have done something stupid maybe once or twice,” Philpot said. “Musically, I think our vocal harmonies sound really nice with the walking guitars and groovy drum and bass parts. If we were a very large corporation, I’d say, ‘Sage Boy Inc. has good synergy.’”

“We’re unique because we all came out of different projects at the same time,” Secrest said. “And yeah, some are still continuing, but for now we have our eyes set on Sage.”

Russell added that she thinks she would have never imagined being a part of Sage Boy, but all of the band members’ different styles contribute to its weird and cool music.

“We don’t give a dang what your mom thinks about us,” Crouch said.

The other opener for El Obo is Fides, a motley crew from Clinton that has been been “enthralling the saints and sinners of the Bible Belt since 2010.”

The band had been performing rock from the ’60s and ’70s for the Jackson restaurant circuit when the average age of the band members was 15 years old, and as the members have gotten older, writing and performing original music has become a focus of the band.

“Tommy Bobo, Cody Sparkman and I have been playing together since we were 14 and 15 years old and going to Clinton High School, and we started really trying to write and record original music in 2012 as Cody and I were graduating,” Reed Smith said. “Jacob Lifsey, who is our synth player, has been playing with us since this past July, when our new album ‘Across the Yard’ was released. He recorded and mixed the album, so his joining felt very natural.”

Seven years later, self-described “heavy indie rock band” Fides travels all over the state to perform “high energy and cathartic” live shows jam-packed with psychedelic rock and R&B influence, sure to send goosebumps down your spine.

Headliner El Obo is the project of Jesse Coppenbarger, formerly of the celebrated Mississippi indie-rock group Colour Revolt, which Reed Smith of Fides described as “easily the best/most influential rock bands to ever come out of Mississippi.”

El Obo was created to serve as an outlet for “music that didn’t fit the louder guitar sounds of Colour Revolt,” according to an article from Swampland, and it shows a deeper facet of ideas that Coppenberger has only previously hinted at with Colour Revolt.

All three bands are stoked to be returning to the Proud Larry’s stage.

“This is our fourth time playing Larry’s,” Smith said. “And we are always pleased with everything from the sound to the crowd to the hospitality.”

Sage Boy’s members are equally as excited and are always down to play at the iconic Oxford jam spot.

“I hope the show at Larry’s warms hearts and moves bodies, or maybe the other way around – not sure,” Philpot said.