Contrary to the name of the band, The Spectators are not sitting in the bleachers, watching life go by. In fact, JJ Frederico (Bass/Vocals), Patrick Farmer (Guitar/Vocals), Josh Jones (Guitar/Vocals), and Mike Taddeo (Drums), are taking the Cleveland alternative rock scene by storm. With uplifting lyrics and an energetic stage show, these artists are always looking forward to the next show.
An epiphany with your pizza? It is difficult for most musicians to choose the defining moment when they decide to make music their career. Not so for Jones, who made his life-changing resolution when he delivered pizza to The Spectators. He says, “I saw these guys and knew. This is what I was meant to do.” Jones played bass since he was ten years old, but never professionally. Joining the band was the final piece of the puzzle for him. It was a chance to do what he loved full time. As he works to sharpen his skills on bass, he would also like to learn more about music theory and composition.
The unexpected is most intriguing. Songs from The Spectators feature unpredictable stops and starts throughout. It allows the listener to pause, think, and anticipate the next part. By expressing movement this way, the music becomes more of an adventure, because you cannot always see what is coming next. The song, “Best of Me” describes it in lyrics that say, “Just cause I see my mind/a million different ways/doesn’t mean I’m a liar/doesn’t mean I feel faith/ doesn’t mean you can throw away the best of me.” Considering other opinions does not mean giving up on your own beliefs. The ability to understand opposing views is a perpetual learning experience that shows in the music of The Spectators.
Statistics are misleading. One of the nuances of social media that Farmer does not like is that it can be ambiguous. If a band has a low number of Likes on Facebook, many fans and music industry professionals assume the band is too new or does not have good music. The reality is that social media is time consuming for musicians and not always an indication of a band’s musical value. Speaking through computers can be impersonal at times and will never replace good old face-to-face conversation. Farmer explains, “In local scenes, I’d love to see bigger bands doing splits with smaller artists to really help grow each other’s fanbases and even give some guidance for future shows and releases.” By combining efforts, musicians can help each other through collaborations and advice.
One of the largest audiences at this show was for The Spectators, who were the opening band. A few minutes into the performance, I discovered the reason. Farmer’s easy-going banter between songs made me feel like we were all best friends. He asked the crowd what they did that day, responding to the answers in an intimate, yet comfortable manner. The music flowed seamlessly from softer melodies to hard-driving songs that make you want to jump without a prompt. I left the show thinking about following dreams and improving my own attitudes.
The Spectators released their EP, Stand While You Can, in July and are currently working on a new single release for the end of this year. In keeping with their dedication to not sit on the sidelines, The Spectators will be performing at a BravoArtist sponsored Toys for Tots benefit in December that will help many children celebrate Christmas.