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Band Allstar Weekend
More Than Meets The Eye
Think Plain White T’s vocals, Metro Station dance beats, and the Jonas Brothers’ fans. That’s what you get with music’s newest pop sensation, Allstar Weekend. Name doesn’t ring a bell? It’s understandable, considering Disney-owned Hollywood Records signed them just last year. However, the band of four has been together for almost three years. They all grew up in Poway, California, outside of San Diego. Once they became serious about forming a band, they put their music on MySpace in hopes of gaining fans.
“But pretty quickly,” says lead singer Zach Porter, “we realized face-to-face goes a long way.”
With this in mind, Allstar Weekend started playing small shows around San Diego. Last summer, they followed the Jonas Brothers entire world tour, playing acoustic shows outside each venue before the actual concert. The trek paid off. At the premiere of the Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Experience, the band handed out flyers to Disney fans and a Disney casting director. Soon they were placed in Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing competition, along with ten other bands. Clips of their songs were played on Radio Disney, then listeners voted online for their favorite.
“We were actually the last band to get in the N.B.T. competition,” bassist Cameron Quiseng says. “We got lucky… We got over a million votes in the first five days. That was unheard of.”
The band ended up losing the competition, but came in a “close second.” Disney was not ready to give up on them yet. They played a showcase for Hollywood Records and signed a record contract in August of 2009.
Since then, Allstar Weekend has released three singles, “A Different Side Of Me,” “Dance Forever,” and “Come Down With Love;” music videos for all three songs; and their debut album “Suddenly.” They also spent the summer performing their first major countrywide tour. So what made them so popular in such a short amount of time?
“They actually did a study on how people heard about us and how people were interested in our record,” Porter explains. “The number of people that found out about us through the Disney Channel was the same as the number of people who found out about us through Facebook.” Quiseng, drummer Michael Martinez, and guitarist Nathan Darmody agree that the Internet played a key role in their sudden success.
“We do all of our promotion online,” Martinez says. “Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, anything to connect with the fans… because the fans know us and they can spread the word to other people.”
The band also makes YouTube videos of its members doing everything from singing covers to dancing in restaurants. Quiseng says that the way they act in these videos shows who they really are.
“Through YouTube,” he continues, “ I think a lot of people can relate to us and connect.”
Connecting with their fans was a recurring theme when I sat down to talk with the band before their July 23rd concert at The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They kept stressing how personal connections with fans are important to their fan base and want to keep these connections as the band grows. While this story has been told by most musicians, in Allstar Weekend’s case, it seems to be sincere. During their concert, the band made everyone in the audience feel like the only one in the room. Twice Porter jumped off the stage to serenade screaming girls in the first row. After every show, the band has meet-and-greets to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Milwaukee was no exception. It took almost two hours for the band to meet their fans, pack up, and head out. Even then they could not leave until they sprayed a few remaining fans with silly string.
Only time will tell what this band will accomplish, but they show no signs of slowing down. The band released their first full-length album, “Suddenly Yours,” on October 19, and recently concluded a fall tour with Stephen Jersak, The Scene Asthetic, and Action Item. While Allstar Weekend may be labeled as a typical pop group, their unique dance-driven songs, strong personal connections with their fans, and down-to-earth personalities prove that there is more to this band than meets the eye, or ear. The band gets its name from the Smash Mouth song “Allstar,” and plays a clip of it before starting every show. One of the lines from that song is “All that glitters is gold.” While Allstar Weekend may not have gone gold in record sales, they are surely on their way to becoming all-star musicians. – Claire Nowak
Allstar Weekend’s debut album “Suddenly” is in stores and on iTunes now. Go to www.allstarweekendrocks.com for more info.