The Bowery Ballroom
Twin Forks

Twin Forks

Dan Layus, The Social Animals

Sat, April 22, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

$18.00

This event is 18 and over

Pre-Show (7pm-8pm) & Post-Show Happy Hour in the Lower Level Lounge

Twin Forks
Twin Forks
Dan Layus
Dan Layus
Whether it’s penning poetry, fiction or songs, every great author suffers from a bout of writer’s block at some point in their career. Dan Layus is no exception. And for him, the remedy was thinking about eggs. Yes, eggs. In the midst of crafting material for his moving solo debut Dangerous Things, Layus found himself stuck. So he sought advice from his guitar player and close friend Jay TK who suggested a trick he learned from taking a creative writing class. “He said ‘this is how you write descriptively, you need to describe if there's three eggs on the table. Don't say there are three eggs on the table. Find a left of center way to tell me what you're looking at.’” In other words: Show, don’t tell. “I needed to stop thinking so metaphorically, thinking so high in the clouds,” he says. “I’m just going to say the damn thing in a way that I'm interpreting it. That was kind of how I proceeded to write the rest of the record.”

The 11 songs on Dangerous Things, are expertly crafted and ring with a deep sincerity that few singer-songwriters can match. The centerpiece of Dangerous Things is “Driveway,”the first song Layus wrote after conquering his writer’s block. Over a delicate acoustic guitar and haunting lap steel, a melancholic Layus comes to terms with the life sacrifices as a musician: not wanting to leave home, but can’t stay at home because he needs to provide for his wife and family. “Writing that was a very defining moment for me,” he says. “That to me was sign that it’s okay to do what I’m doing now. This is where I am.” Elsewhere, “Four Rings” finds Layus, solo at the piano, his voice heaving with emotion, backed by the heavenly backing vocals of Laura and Lydia Rogers aka the Secret Sisters. Originally sought for accompanying Layus just on the album’s infectious title track, the Sisters ended up recording vocals for a total of five songs including the Leonard Cohen-esque “It Only Gets Darker” and the life-affirming coda “The Nightbird.” “I only wanted two instruments on each song, but as I was listening to the recording sessions, something was missing,” he says. “My manager and I felt that backing vocals might help, so we got in contact with the Sisters and they came in the studio and knocked them out in a few hours.”

Prior to Dangerous Things, Layus was best known as the front man for Augustana, the California-based rock band best known for their platinum single “Boston” from their 2005 debut All the Stars and Boulevards.But after three more Augustana records, Layus was itching for a change, both personal and professional. After spending most of his life in California, Layus was lured by the appeal of Nashville, a city bursting with a creative spirit while providing a less hectic lifestyle for his wife and their three children. That dovetailed nicely with Layus’ longing to write songs without the constraints of being in a band with a sparser country vibe, influenced by Ryan Adams, alt-country originators Uncle Tupelo as well as discovering songs like “I Don’t Want to Play House” by Tammy Wynette and George Jones’ classic “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will).”

“Hearing those songs was a life-changer for me,” he says. “They were disguised as simple, but actually very complex in their makeup and deliveries. The way that Tammy would sing her vowels just breaks your heart. I felt very much encouraged to try some new things both lyrically and melodically.” Once in Nashville, Layus quickly set up a music room in their new residence, scoring an old piano from a local music store for $200 “I think my inspiration is something as simple as looking out the window and seeing a different environment,” he says. “It has just a nice warm vibe and it allowed me to open up some vocals on the piano with my hands that just weren't there in the past.”

The past has become the present. And with Dangerous Things, one can sense that Dan Layus has reached an artistic pinnacle. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and struggle, milestones now reached by a change of scenery and the love of his family.
The Social Animals
The Social Animals
The Social Animals are a full time, van-living young band. They speak through elegantly sarcastic, thoughtful lyrics with memorable melodies splattered across a canvas of indie rock instrumentation. They don’t do backflips at their live shows or slide across their knees into guitar solos. Instead, they play their music passionately and honestly, carrying both the intensity to move feet and the delicacy to keep them still. Between songs, their dry commentary on the status of their lives and the world around them appeals to the type of person who, perhaps, spends time actually reading through a band bio.

Releasing their debut EP, "Formative Years" in late summer of 2016, The Social Animals have laid a sturdy foundation for the character and direction of the band. Songs like "Let Me Go" marry the grittiness of an honest band cramped in a Chevy Express with the pop sensibility of Tom Petty. "I Guess In America" offers a tongue-in-cheek outlook on the process of dealing with personal sadness under the seemingly comfortable umbrella of the U.S., and the privileges (or lack thereof) that come with it.

Unlike the shaky uneasiness of their V8 engine, these boys show no signs of stopping. Climbing from the gurgling depths of Wal-Mart parking lots and rattling beer cans, the bandsits calmly atop the rubble with a full-length album in their back pocket. Recorded almost completely live at Modest Mouse's "Ice Cream Party Studios", the album is poised to make 2017 the most promising year of the band's career. Produced with help from Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Deer Tick), the album, coined "Early Twenties", builds upon the groundwork of "Formative Years" and takes the band to new places both physically and sonically.
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/