An up-and-coming Knoxville band is making a name for itself with a rapidly-growing fan base and quality music that appeals to listeners of all kinds. Gamenight will play next on Sept. 22, back at Java in the Old City, and it hopes to continue attracting new fans with each performance.
The band, currently on The New Beat Records label, toured in a number of U.S. cities during the summer and just released its highly-anticipated 13-track album on Aug. 8.
The band played at Java in the Old City with Mouth Movements and Park on the night of the release to celebrate with its fans. The group’s success continues to grow, and everyone seems to agree that things are starting to come together for Gamenight, four regular guys who united only a year ago to do what they love.
Guitarist and lead singer Josh Manis, along with drummer Brandon Manis, were formerly members of local Knoxville band Capulet, but the group split up in May 2005. A few months later, guitarist Robby Kerr and bass player Caleb Boaz joined the Manises to form a new band with new ideas. They called themselves Gamenight and teamed up with The New Beat Records to start recording music.
In late spring of 2006, Matt Presley replaced bassist Boaz, and the band began to make plans for a summer tour soon thereafter. The band traveled up the east coast through Virginia to New Jersey and then over to Ohio, Iowa and other states before driving back to Tennessee. Gamenight played shows almost every night during the trip, sometimes for smaller crowds and for hundreds on the best nights.
Many concert-goers were unfamiliar with the band before the performance, but several had already become fans based on what they had heard from Gamenight’s Web site and Myspace page.
The group’s expenses ran high while on the road, driving great distances between cities every day while gas prices soared, but its efforts were certainly worth it because its fan base grew so much while on tour.
“It wasn’t successful in terms of money,” lead singer Josh Manis said. “But it was successful in terms of making contacts and more people hearing about us. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of exposure.”
Gamenight toured with Mouth Movements, another Knoxville band, and promoted its new album with sales of a 5-song EP. Since the record was not released until Aug. 8, the EP served to preview the upcoming music and promote Internet sales during the tour.
“That was the whole purpose of the tour,” Manis said.
With their album, “Simple Starts in the Mind,” now resting happily in the hands and Ipods of their fans, Gamenight can continue to attract new listeners and gain more recognition. Its guitar-driven indie rock is reminiscent of bands like “Saves the Day” and “Hey Mercedes,” but still draws entirely upon the members’ own creativity.
“We’re really not going for anything besides rock, but people call us indie,” guitarist Robby Kerr said.
They say their poppy edge is attractive to certain people, but their key changes and time signatures may set them apart from different bands in the same genre. Listeners enjoy a layered guitar sound that creates interesting textures and harmonies, and Kerr said the songs “are all pretty complex as far as instrumentation — guitar parts and drum parts.”
As for the future, Gamenight aims to find a bigger record label and take its touring to the next level.
“We’d like to have enough influence to book a tour from the East Coast to the West Coast,” Manis said.
Kerr added, “We’re planning on booking a Christmas break tour hopefully all the way to California and everywhere in between.”
Those are big aspirations for a relatively new band, but with four guys willing to put in the necessary hard work, their success is certainly attainable.
“We want people to realize we love what we’re doing,” Manis said.
For more info on Gamenight, visit the band online at http://www.gamenightmusic.co and http://www.myspace.com/gamenightmusic.