The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday June 12th

UNC alumni band Happy Abandon headline Local 506 show

Despite their name, Happy Abandon isn't straying from their roots. 

The up-and-coming indie rock band will be performing at Local 506 tonight. The four-person band, which is comprised of UNC graduates Peter Vance (lead vocals, guitar, lyrics), Jake Waits (percussion), Alex Thompson (keyboards) and Justin Ellis (bass), will perform tracks from their newly released EP, Heavy Lines, as well as some new songs and older covers.

See the show

9 p.m., tonight

Local 506

For tonight's opening performances Happy Abandon has pulled talent from the local area by having the groups XOXOK and Sister David perform, whose members are all UNC students. Happy Abandon will also be performing with two guests, fellow UNC graduates Nick Johnson, who plays violin, and Emily Pate, who plays flute and sings backup vocals.

“I think it’s a very strong lineup and a really great show and venue, so I think there will be a lot of energy,” Pate said.

Although the road to Happy Abandon’s formation has had its twist and turns, the band has already experienced successes within their first year.

For the band’s first performance of 2016, Happy Abandon visited Vance’s hometown of Washington, D.C. and played for a crowd of more than 200 people. The band also got to work with Grammy-nominated producer John Custer for Heavy Lines.

All members of Happy Abandon were involved in different musical and theatrical groups throughout their UNC careers such as the Marching Tar Heels, the UNC Walk-Ons, UNC Pauper Players and the larger local music scene, which has helped shaped the band into what it is today.

“All of us have theater background, which I think communicates in the music,” Vance said. “I think having that experience and understanding how important rehearsals and schedules are makes it more professional. It helped us not just be musicians but also performing artists.”

Happy Abandon’s members bring their own talent and interests to the group, which Vance said creates a unique sound.

“Musically, I think this band is inspired by pop-rock song construction but post-rock envelop," Ellis said. "By that I mean it’s very layered and textured and there is lots of reverb and vocals."

Vance, who writes lyrics, is inspired by artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and Conor Oberst, who he believes use music to talk about difficult subjects both on a grand and personal scale.

“Music is important because it’s supposed to promote personal growth,” Vance said. “I like literary artists, artists that spend a lot of time with the content of the song and also how to present it, because putting work into that stuff goes a long way.”

Happy Abandon will be performing a release show in Raleigh and an acoustic show in Durham, as well as a tour in the southeast and the northeast. Whether touring around the U.S. or writing new songs for their first LP,  Happy Abandon has stuck to their musical roots.

“It still seems like (UNC) is still a part of who we are," Ellis said. 

"Playing at places like Local 506 just make it feel like home."

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