During the past year, the Kansas City alt-rock group The Greeting Committee has felt the push and pull of success.
Discovered while it was still in high school at Blue Valley High School, with the song “Hands Down,” the rock quartet achieved some its biggest dreams, performing with some of its favorite artists, releasing new music and, on Saturday, Jan. 11, playing a packed show in its home city.
Judging by the tone of its latest EP, “I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry,” the band also has experienced its fair share of anxiety, disassociation and feeling overwhelmed and numb from everything that comes with young adulthood.
To dig into that, lead singer Addie Sartino talked with St. Joe Live before the band’s big show at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at The Uptown in Kansas City. Some quotes have been condensed for space.
St. Joe Live: You’re closing out your tour in Kansas City. What was it like being on the road in 2019?
Addie Sartino: 2019 was an awesome year, touring-wise. We got to tour with so many of our favorite bands — Bombay Bicycle Club, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Hippo Campus. We made some new friends with the Arkells and that was awesome. So I would say that 2019 was our best year so far.
SJL: With (the 2019 EP ‘I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry), you had already released ‘This Is It’ in 2018, when did you think ‘We don’t want to wait for an album. We want to get this out right now’?
AS: It’s really crazy in the music industry, you have to have stuff out so quickly. We had people coming to us, asking us for new material. And we were like ‘’This Is It’ hasn’t even been out for five months’ before we had a bunch of people knocking on our door wanting new material ... And we wanted to put out more music. But this time, the biggest difference in the way that we wrote was that we went back to having it literally just be Brandon, Austin, Pierce and Addie sitting in the room in Austin’s basement where all of the EPs were in ... We really wanted to scale it back to the roots of The Greeting Committee.
SJL: With the EP, adding those four songs in, what’s it like building a set now?
AS: We feel like the EP is so much more mature than our other work. But it’s kind of tricky on where you want to place everything because you don’t want to take this mature, sad song and put it next to this like fun bop — and I love fun bops ... Because who doesn’t want to have fun at a show? So I think it’s definitely made things a little bit trickier, but I love the challenge. I’m typically the one who puts together a set list and then I’ll bring it to the boys and they’ll bring up their thoughts or concerns and we’ll go back and forth and then we’ve got a finished product. So we have a 19-song set. So that’s like an hour and a half.
SJL: What’s it like for all of you playing The Uptown, closing out the tour with this big show?
AS: I’ve never been more nervous for a show. I normally am somewhat nervous. But this is a different kind of nervous that I don’t know if I’ve ever really experienced before or if I have, it was like forever ago. And I don’t know why, necessarily, other than the fact that it’s The Uptown Theater. It’s just so many people. And I think it’s kind of bringing up thoughts of like, ‘Am I qualified for this?’ and trying to balance that feeling with the hard work and effort to make me feel deserving of this position. And I think the boys are probably going through the same thing. We’re in major rehearsal mode right now. Every day this week, we’ve got like our four-hour long rehearsals, so I would say that we’re definitely kicking it into high gear and prepping as much as we can.
SJL: You're playing a stage that the great have played. I've seen Chance The Rapper, Bon Iver, Lana Del Ray there.
AS: I saw Leon bridges there and I saw St. Vincent there and they were amazing shows, so I'm very excited to be playing on the same stage they played on.
SJL: I remember listen to (96.5 The Buzz) when they played ('Hands Down') for the first time. I think they played it twice. Then you played our mall a few years ago.
AS: Yeah, that was so fun.
SJL: To see the trajectory that you all have taken, it's just really cool to see.
AS: We're very lucky to call Kansas City our home. I mean, we're so blessed in that regard and fortunate. And I think why I'm so nervous was just because I care so much and the boys care so much. And we want to keep putting our heart into this. And we want to keep showing our appreciation and saying thank you in the best way we can, by giving people an amazing night that they can remember and feel a part of and know that they also created something in that.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live