Gainesville has proven repeatedly to be a hub for artistic talent spanning across all mediums. One of the landmark locations to take in some of the finest local music is High Dive located downtown. This week I had the opportunity to see The Hails perform live and to sit down with front man, Robbie Kingsley, for an interview following the show. The Hails epitomize the undeniable talent embedded within Gainesville and why local artists should be more actively supported by the community.
Band members Dylan McCue (guitar), Franco Solari (guitar), Matt Glover (bass), Zach Levy (drums) and Robbie Kingsley (vocals) have been performing on a regular basis at High Dive for over a year now. Their sound is a fresh cross between the grit of classic rock with the smooth undertones of new age alternative. When asked how the band decided on the sound they wanted to convey, Kingsley said, “We all share similar tastes…we all love old rock and roll and we all love contemporary stuff too.” This was very evident as they covered artists such as Frank Ocean and The Strokes, as well as showing off some of their original music.
The concert venue itself was the embodiment of the intimate experience that music should be enjoyed in. You could tell that everyone there was proud to support the talents of their friends and family. The intended effect of music is to make listeners feel something and you could tell the whole bar was filled with that emotion. Kingsley agreed that Gainesville has been the perfect atmosphere for them to develop as musicians. He claimed that this city is a “big art center” with a surprising amount of history and has allowed The Hails to do a lot with their music. He continued and said that there are a lot of great musicians here that they have been able to meet and form a “tight-knit community.”
Recently, The Hails took a trip to Miami, Florida to record their EP that we anticipate to be released within the next few months. This recording will include 5 original tracks that I was able to experience live at their recent gig. A major step for the band, Kingsley hopes this EP will be a way for them to gain a larger fan following and expand beyond the Gainesville area. Even though the members of The Hails are college students, the ideal lifestyle for them would be able to do music full-time. Playing on major circuits and on acclaimed tours would be the perfect scenario according to Kingsley.
Such large aspirations are fitting for a group with as much natural talent and stage presence as The Hails. Nevertheless, it takes the support of a community to get them the recognition they deserve. Society as a whole has turned away from supporting locally based organizations, whether it be music, art or shops. This has made it increasingly more difficult for individuals to act upon their ambitions. That is why it is imperative for us to revive the appreciation of local culture. Everything we know today originally stemmed from local culture and it is due time for us to return to these roots. Native flair shouldn’t be overshadowed by the draw toward commercialized entertainment. Everyone must start somewhere, so why not support talent from the very beginning?
With that in mind, I urge everyone to gain a similar experience to the one I had seeing The Hails. You can learn about their upcoming shows and the release of their EP on their Facebook page. There is no greater way to show appreciation for where you live than to embrace the many talents of the residents. For all, you know the band you end up paying hundreds of dollars to see in an arena could have started in a local bar right where you live charging $8 for the same experience.