Noir band Late Night Callers return to Lawrence
- Aug. 15, 2012
- 1 Comment
Nick Combs dances on stage to the rhythm of the drum beat, pounding his keyboard and looking out into the crowd of people wearing 20s style clothing in a Kansas City, Mo. bar.
Combs is the keyboardist for The Late Night Callers, a “noir-a-go-go” band that originated in Lawrence two years ago. Now, the Late Night Callers perform mostly in Kansas City, but the band is returning to Lawrence Oct. 12 for a masquerade party at the Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts St.
“We rehearse in Lawrence, the band started in Lawrence, so it’s always been our home,” Combs said. “We’ve played a lot more in Kansas City, but all of our friends and family are here. So any time we play, it ends up being a big crowd.”
Combs describes the band’s music as “noir-a-go-go,” a vintage, dark, seductive sound in minor keys. Krysztof Nemeth, guitarist and founder of The Late Night Callers, set the tone for the band. He gained inspiration from his love of old, black and white noir films. He moved to Lawrence from Seattle and recruited Julie Berndsen to sing lead vocals for the band in 2010 after finding out that her musical tastes fell in line with his.
Berndsen grew up in Hutchinson and has been singing seriously since sixth grade. She said she’s been in bands for most of her life, and would sneak into bars when she was in high school for gigs.
“The band I’m in now, it’s definitely more adult, more noir, more dark,” Berndsen said. “I pull a lot of my influence from Jazz. I love old vintage movies, clothes and anything surrounding that.”
The Late Night Callers played at the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco last year. They also recently played a gig in St. Louis, and have three shows in Kansas City this September. Combs hopes to continue playing big shows and eventually become a full-time band.
“We’ve all been in bands our entire lives,” Combs said. “We’re by no means an old band, but we’re in our later 20s and have the experience. We’re past the point of wanting to hop in a van and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for weeks.”
Combs said The Late Night Callers haven’t broken into the college scene, but he’s happy about the crowd that does show up. Some don the style of clothing that the band has worn to all of their live shows and has been recognized for.
“It’s something we started doing because its what the music dictated to us. It’s growing into its own thing now,” Combs said. “We’ll have people that look like they’re straight out of the Roaring Twenties come.”
To listen to The Late Night Callers or find their upcoming shows, go to latenightcallers.com.
—Edited by Kelsey Cipolla