The Fray highlights spring concert event

It’s what all young musicians dream about: hearing their voice on a mainstream radio station, watching their song fight for progress on the charts, playing in front of thousands of screaming fans, hearing their name called for the nomination of an award, and delivering an acceptance speech for winning a Grammy.

Mainstream pop audiences enjoy listening to their favorite music every day, but most are never faced with the story of their favorite artist or band and what they had to go through to produce that favorite track or record.

Though some are born into the industry and others make it big quickly, most have a story of a struggle, sacrifice or trial they’ve endured to get to where they are now: a chart-topping, Grammy-nominated, well-known touring band, complete with millions of fans worldwide.

On April 15, in front of Gannon and Edinboro universities and Penn State Behrend students, The Fray, a band who started with big dreams in a small-town atmosphere and who fought for their singles to be heard, will perform at the Tullio Arena in downtown Erie.

Much like other rock bands’ humble beginnings, The Fray started as a garage band. The Denver–based group began developing talent considered above average. Joe King (guitar and vocals) and Isaac Slade (piano and vocals) began to form the band after running into one another after high school. Their bond would eventually lead to song writing, composing and the completion of the lineup which music listeners now know as The Fray: drummer Ben Wysocki and guitarist Dave Welsh.

After four years of composing, writing and recording their music as demos, The Fray began to earn gigs at heavily-populated bars on Friday and Saturday nights. The exposure led to the support of hometown fans and even local radio stations that would play their demos on air.

In just four months, The Fray’s well-established mainstream hit, “Over My Head (Cable Car),” though just a demo at the time, entered Denver’s KTCL’s top 30 Most Played Songs of 2004. While performing in front of fans at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colo. a few weeks later, The Fray signed their first record deal with Epic Records.

And, in those quick eight years since they joined with Epic, they have served the music industry well with platinum, chart-topping singles such as: “Over My Head (Cable Car),” “How to Save a Life,” “You Found Me,” “Never Say Never” and their latest single, “Heartbeat” which currently holds the No. 27 spot on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, and No. 42 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. As for their albums, How to Save a Life (2005) climbed to No. 14 on the Billboard 200, The Fray (2009) topped the chart at No. 1, and their current album, Scars and Stories, (2012) holds the No. 4 position.

With the release of a new album–which is pacing its way to number one on the charts–former hits that the average radio listener would still recognize, and four past Grammy nominations, what can university students in attendance expect on April 15? The Fray represent a raspy, soft–rock vibe much like those that U2 and Coldplay bring to the table. Their songs tell stories, often referencing individuals’ struggles from broken relationships to a job loss.

They have been selected by the American Music Academy to perform live at award shows and have proven themselves by grasping good song, album, and performance reviews, from leading music industry news sources such as Billboard and Rolling Stone. Also, The Fray represent different styles of instrumentation including the piano, violin and keyboard.

Although this year’s band was decided on by not only Gannon but also Edinboro and Penn State Behrend, Gannon’s concert series dates back to the 1970s featuring bands such as 3 Dog Night, Pat Benatar, America, Yes, Kansas, Rusted Root and Hall and Oates. On April 15, will The Fray show that they can make an impression big enough to stand tall with those bands?

While days until the concert wind down, students can anticipate a diverse sound through the use of different instruments, soft rock but edgy vocals, and a well-balanced performance. But will students take to their live sound, which differs for some artists out of the studio or will The Fray be labeled as one of the best bands to ever play in front of Gannon University students?

 

KRYSTINA GEORGE

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