Riverdog in Oberlin, Ohio is a youth camp turned art gallery that hosts small folk music concerts for a crowd that is usually aged 50 and up. The older crowd was invaded on March 7th, though, by up-and-coming indie folk band The Accidentals.
The Accidentals, from Traverse City, Michigan, are 18-year-old Katie Larson, 19-year old Savannah Buist, and 19-year-old Michael Dause. While they may be young, they have talent beyond their years. Larson, primarily a cellist, also played acoustic and electric guitar during the set. Buist, a violinist, also played an acoustic guitar and an electric bass. Dause, the drummer, also played an acoustic guitar. And each of them has a killer set of pipes.
Riverdog is a very intimate venue, since it is first and foremost an art gallery. The stage was just big enough for the band and their instruments and had a cheetah print backdrop draped with white Christmas lights. The rest of the room was filled with metal folding chairs and did not have a single empty seat. Due to the informal and friendly atmosphere, the band was able to share stories of how they met, what inspired each song, and what their future looks like throughout their set.
The Accidentals describe their sound as a mashup of classical, celtic, rock, and jazz. The set opened with “The Silence,” a song off of their newest studio album “Bittersweet,” and it proved their description to be true. The majority of their songs focus on Larson and Buist’s string instruments, with Dause adding a strong beat with his drums. Add Larson and Buist’s melodic voices to the mix, and the entire room was tapping their feet and clapping their hands to the music.
Between songs, the audience learned about the band’s past and hopeful future. Larson and Buist met in high school orchestra. They were given an assignment together and decided to play their favorite White Stripes songs instead, and The Accidentals were born. They met Dause a couple of years later after seeing him playing guitar at a music festival. They were just friends, until Dause sent a recording of him playing drums to one of their songs a little under a year ago, and he joined the band.
The Accidentals have two studio albums and were recently offered an opportunity to record more. Renowned singer-songwriter and radio host Marshall Crenshaw and producer Stewart Lerman reached out to the band and told them that they wanted to produce their next four albums, an opportunity the band accepted and is thrilled by.
Many of The Accidental’s songs were written for Interlochen, a center for the arts in Michigan. Both Larson and Buist were students at the center for years and had to write a song each week as homework. Before each song, they told the audience what their inspiration was.
“Epitaphs” is anthem about being yourself. “Miso Soup” was written as a response to a prompt about two people falling in love at the grocery store. “Lemons and Chamomile,” a very somber song, was written by Larson during the depression of doing her calculus homework. “City of Cardboard” was written ten minutes before a music lesson because Buist procrastinated too much. “Bulletproof Glass” was inspired by a book Buist loved, which says that Napoleon was the original punk rocker. “Bittersweet,” the title track off their new album, was written as a response to a prompt about the ground beneath your feet.
The Accidentals ended their set with a five-minute-long instrumental piece that showcased their talent in each of the genres that they are inspired by and it gave the entire room goosebumps.