Damone, UTIOG provide unique sound

Ally Taylor

Damone and Under the Influence of Giants have a lot in common. They have both been around for three-and-a-half to four years, share a passion for a variety of musical genres and have an uncommon sound that makes them unlike anyone that has ever played at Villanova before.

While Damone was unable to perform at Tuesday night’s concert, the band, along with UTIOG, were two of the planned opening acts for Tuesday’s All-American Rejects concert. These bands are unique by priding themselves on their twists on both classical rock and old-school punk.

“There is so much music here,” Damone’s lead singer Noelle LeBlanc says. “It takes a minute for [the audience] to understand what we’re all about and if they want to give us the time of day.”

LeBlanc describes Damone’s style as “fun rock ‘n’ roll music” that takes the old alternative and punk rock classic sounds and combines them with the sounds of current bands like the Foo Fighters and Weezer. She listed personal favorites ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to opera, even including Justin Timberlake.

Although UTIOG has a completely different sound from Damone, this band also relies heavily on classics for inspiration. Guitarist Drew Stewart cited the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Talking Heads as influences.

“Those old records have some special quality that we try to get on our records as well,” he says.

A Los Angeles-based band, UTIOG embraces eclectic tastes that range from hip-hop to jazz to disco, and their music contains elements of each.

UTIOG released its first self-titled album in August, and the band members (vocalist Aaron Bruno, guitarist Drew Stewart, drummer Jamin Wilcox and bassist David Amezcua) worked hard to make each song perfect, Stewart says, describing the album as sexy and delicious.

“It gives you everything you want,” he says. “It covers every emotion.”

Both Stewart and LeBlanc expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play with The All-American Rejects college tour. With so many talented bands and so few sponsored tours, it is difficult to develop a national fan base, they say.

Damone, a Boston-based act, has already earned international support when a booking agent invited them to tour in China and Japan after seeing a show in Maine.

With a female lead singer, their sound is different from other punk rock musicians.

“Women singers are overlooked these days,” LeBlanc says. “They don’t get enough credit.”

However, Damone’s success has not come without difficult times. After their first guitarist/songwriter quit, they split from their label as the result of a mutual agreement. As if those events weren’t enough, bassist Vazquez suffered a brain aneurism and was in a coma for two days.

Mike Woods joined Damone to play guitar and write music, Island Records picked up the band and Vazquez recovered and still plays bass. Damone released their first full-length album, “Out Here All Night,” with the new label in May.

“We’re still together, kicking, causing trouble,” LeBlanc says.

Want to check out what Damone has to offer? Missed UTIOG at Tuesday’s concert? Damone will play at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. on Nov. 18 and UTIOG hopes to tour the East Coast this winter.