FridaysUpdate-- Season Opener: Ultraviolet Ballet brings back vintage excess
If Ultraviolet Ballet sounds like any other college band, it's because they are– for good reason though. Their brand of danceable pop-rock appeals largely to a college-aged crowd. But for a post-collegiate crew who like to have a good time, that's quite all right.
"We don't aim for a particular demographic," bassist Matt Kauper says. "People who like our music may have been our age in the '80s."
Unlike a handful of other college-aged local bands, Ultraviolet migrated westward to Charlottesville from Williamsburg. As non-natives, they can claim a new musical perspective without straying from the Thomas Jefferson-motif in which locals and UVA students alike find comfort in. After meeting through mutual friends, guitarist Jesse DelGizzi and keyboarder Galen Curry formed the core of Ultraviolet in 2005 at the College of William and Mary. Shortly thereafter, a party-going Kauper, embolded by "drinking about four forties," offered to play bass.
"Williamsburg is fairly lame, a place where conservatives go to die," Curry says. "There's a schism between the students and the rest of Williamsburg proper. You couldn't make a sound in your house after 10pm."
For a burgeoning band, Williamsburg's sound policy was a blunt deterrence to progress. Packing up their lives, relocating to Charlottesville, and picking up drummer Fred Farney along the way, Ultraviolet expanded its musical horizons and picked up new opportunities–opening for mash-up artist Girl Talk at William and Mary, recording a debut album, and now opening the season for Charlottesville's Fridays After Five series. With their blend of funk and pop, the band aims to bring back "vintage sounds" of the '70s and '80s.
"Our pop is meant to be appealing and widely enjoyable and danceable– that's key for us," Kauper says. "Jesse and I have a mild obsession with Prince, and we want to bring back analog and synths from the early '80s that haven't been heard since then."
In a town where the best and brightest musical stars often majoring in indie and bluegrass, Ultraviolet Ballet is proving that there is indeed room in town for pop.
"Here, there are so many bands, and it's great– there's not a night that goes by without music," Curry says. "There's a resurgence of indie-folk, and we welcome that because it's not similar to what we are."
Don't write Ultraviolet off as a mere "college band". As the name and style of pop indicates– "calculated excess, perfection pop of the '80s," according to Kauper– its presence is here to stay. As openers for the disco-heavy ensemble Groove Train Friday night, Ultraviolet Ballet is hoping you'll be out in excess.
Ultraviolet Ballet opens Fridays After Five on 4/17. Groove Train follows. Free admission.