Most original bands will play a cover or two in a set, whether to build audience interest or just fill time. How many bands, though, would play the theme song to Peanuts or Sesame Street?
Well, we know of at least one. A band from Fairfield, 4 Ohms, keeps the audience interacting during their shows by playing silly covers, throwing out free stuff and starting up dance contests.
"We try to be quirky on stage so that the crowd will not only like our music, but they will like our personalities," said Alex Hall, guitarist and vocalist. "They want to come out and see us because it's different every time."
According to Dave Danforth, the band's other guitarist/vocalist, "We are a live-oriented band." They all agree and say the crowd's reaction shapes the success of their performance.
"I want to have 10 or 15 people in front of me dancing their asses off," says Hall. "I get off on that and I play better because of it."
"It's real hippie-oriented in a sense," says Hall. "It's Grateful Dead/Phish kind of stuff, so we want those kind of people to come out and see us. We want to play for just the right crowd."
So far that crowd has seen 4 Ohms at Actionz in Fairfield and at The Mad Frog, where the band placed second in The Mad Frog Band Challenge. Hall says the band wants to branch out and will try to reach venues like the BarrelHouse and others.
Currently, the band is saving money and compiling material to work in the studio. Even though Hall and Danforth do much of the writing, they have a few songs that are group efforts.
One such song, "Birth," is an instrumental that Hall says was the first song written as a band. Some songs, like "Don't Touch It," have interesting stories behind their creation. During a practice session, they were having some equipment trouble and found they couldn't touch the mic. They started chanting "Don't Touch It" in harmony, and the next practice session, they had a complete song that's now an audience favorite.
Though these guys have done some work in the studio and eventually plan to put out a studio CD, they don't want to lose the focus on their live shows. For that reason, Hall says, they record all their live shows.
In fact, their ultimate goal is to put out a double disc — one live and one studio. Basically, they say, even though Jam bands, in general, can put out good studio recordings, it rarely captures the live sound.
"It's just not the same feeling," says percussionist Jeff Waters.
This band is really the product of an evolution from all-night drum jams to mixing sessions to a full, five-member band. Hall, Danforth, Waters, bassist Tony Scheetz and drummer/ vocalist Chet Johnson have been playing together as the 4 Ohms for about a year.
According to Danforth, the band's goals include, "Trying to make every song that we do more intense than the last song we did. Basically, we're just trying to grow with every song we put out."
"We want to try to touch as many people as possible to let people experience our music," adds Johnson. "To change the way people look at music."
So how do they sound? "I like to just describe it as 'music,' " says Danforth. "It's everything, basically; we use styles from Reggae to Hard Rock to Jazz."
"I think anybody, regardless of what you are into, would dig us," says Hall.
Their music, they say, is diverse and different from what you'd hear on the radio.
"It's our music vs. the rest of the world," says Danforth.
4 OHMS play at Actionz in Fairfield on Friday. Check fourohms.com for a complete upcoming gig list.