The Weeks bring Southern soul, indie jams to Oxford

Posted on Sep 15 2017 - 8:00am by Jonathan Gibson

The indie rock, Mississippi-made band The Weeks will be headlining at The Lyric at 8 p.m. tonight.

These local rockers have become somewhat of a staple in the Oxford music scene, and it seems that every year you can count on seeing their name pop up on posters and ads around town.

“We love it,” Cyle Barnes, lead singer for The Weeks, said. “Every time we come, we always have a lot of people who are willing to not be shy and actually dance and mess around a little bit. It makes it worth driving all the way down there and makes it an experience instead of just playing.”

Though they’re no strangers to the Oxford stage, this is their first time as a headlining act. You may recognize them from earlier this year when they opened for Passion Pit alongside the Lonely Biscuits.

Their grungy indie rock breaks the mold of flavorless lyrics and repetitive beats with their special blend of Americana-inspired songs that will make you yearn for long summer nights, wild adventures and teenage rebellion.

“We try to structure [our music] to where the whole thing has somewhat of a story arc and makes it feel like an experience or like you’re travelling with it,” Barnes said.

“There’s a theme of trying to make a more intense message fit into a smaller space, a more structured pop time signature, but we mainly just wanted the stories to seem as a whole cohesive but, as individual stories, something different.”

The stories they tell are often about the adventures and struggles of characters drawn from people the band members meet or experiences they’ve had personally. This adds a layer of realism and grit to their already dark, soulful melodies.

“I try to make sure that – drawing from stuff we see or people we meet – if it’s a character or something like that, it sounds believable,” Barnes said. “(We try) to make some of the sadder songs still have some bit of light in them.”

They recently released a full-length album, “Easy,” and you may already recognize some of their previous hits, like “Buttons” and “Brother in the Night.”

Barnes said making the album and touring as a headline act has been an exciting experience for all the band members, who have previously spent much of their time touring alongside other groups.

Despite the growing temptation to abandon complex lyrics and themes many musicians struggle with today, lyrical and musical integrity is at the front of The Weeks’ mind as they continue to grow and perform for larger and larger crowds.

“I’ve never really wanted to compromise on the lyrics just because it’s something I feel very strong and passionate about,” Barnes said. “My favorite music and bands will have a song that will actually make me feel something, and that’s what makes them a good band to me. I don’t ever want someone to be listening to our song and be like, ‘Oh, they could’ve done that better.’”

Barnes said the group is excited to return to Oxford again to play on the The Lyric’s stage. The group will be touring in New York and Chicago later this year, but Barnes said small-town Mississippi holds a special place in his heart.

“As far as Mississippi goes we usually have a strong fan base, a good group,” Barnes said. “I’m for sure looking forward to it. I’m curious to see what it’s going to be like, as long as everyone is ready to get rowdy and have some fun.”