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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Who is Lady Danville?

For such a star-studded city like Los Angeles, the City of Angels' underground rock scene is one of the strongest in America. The city has produced cult favorites like Elliot Smith and Rilo Kiley and continues to thrive.

Lady Danville showed this in its Saturday at Alumni Arena.

The Los Angeles-based trio made its East Coast debut at Saturday's Springfest. The indie rock band consists of pianist Michael Garner, guitarist Daniel Chang and cajon player Matthew Frankel.

"We all met in college in an acapella group, called Awaken Acapella," Frankel said. "[Michael and Daniel] had the same class together one year and they would stay up [all night]. Instead of writing papers, they would be writing music."

Although they may have put of their studies to some degree, it ultimately paid off.

"[Garner and Chang] would go together for study sessions. They ended up writing this song called "Cast Away," which they submitted for a big competition at UCLA and they ended up winning," Frankel said. "That gained them a lot of notoriety…they were a duo at that point, and then once I graduated, I jumped on."

The duo initially went by the name "Mickey G and Dan from Danville," but once Matthew joined, the official name changed to Lady Danville. However, the story behind the name change involved an interesting coincidence.

"We had a different band name before," Garner said. "In an interview [we were asked] how music came into our lives. I was talking about this kindergarten teacher who was this awesome hippie…who brought instruments to school. Dan actually had the same teacher. Then [Matt realized] he had an aunt who was a kindergarten teacher, and it turns out that was her. The same woman, independently introduced all three of us to music and we remember calling her lady… her real name was Gloria, but we liked Lady Danville, it sounded mysterious."

When it comes to songwriting, the trio tends to draw inspiration from everyday life. This allows their fans relate to them, but building a relationship with fans comes with its challenges.

"We often just draw from personal life experience," Frankel said. "People end up connecting with the messages of our own life. As long as [the songs] are relatable, people like listening to the music. When you make music and people love it, there is always an underlying expectation. So there is always this weird internal pressure to always produce good music."

Having formed the collaboration in 2006, the band has played numerous venues across the West Coast. Springfest was not only their first concert in the East, but it was also one of the biggest crowd they have ever played in front of.

"In the past, we played small, more intimate venues because our music does well with that personal interaction with the crowd," Garner said. "But we have been playing a couple of bigger ones lately. We played to a thousand people the other night, but [Springfest] was one of our biggest shows."

As in any group effort, there is bound to be friction, especially in a band with three guys who are distinctly different people.

Luckily, they all share a common love for music.

"The three of us have really strong personalities," Garner said. "We fight quite a bit, but what we make sure we do is try and work through it. It's like a marriage; [we have decided] this is worth working out."

When asked about its long-term goals, the band tries to remain optimistic.

"We would like to continue making music," Frankel said. "That's a hard question to ask because most bands don't have that long of a life span. To answer and say we'll be together in 10 years is already saying you're a huge success so, in 10 years, if we are together we'll be celebrating."

Recently, alongside playing at an increasing number of venues, the trio has also seen some of their music used in well-known television shows.

"It was a surprise when we found out that our song was on ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,' " Frankel said. "We were [also] most recently on ‘The Real World,' so slowly but surely we are moving up the ladder."

Through the ups and downs, Lady Danville has already managed to achieve a great deal of success in a short time. Springfest was a great show for the band and with any luck, will help them garnish a more respectable fan base.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com


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