Way Out Weirds It Up @ AS220

Review by Rebecca Blandón

Earlier last March, Way Out played at Spark City, a self-dubbed Providence “radical cultural space.”

If you want to get way into the Providence music scene, then a Way Out show is the way to go. Blossoming from our own PVD sound garden, Way Out is a “punk, garage, goth, postpunk, and psyche” underground band with recent history and a growing future. You can listen their old Bandcamp tracks or catch a preview to their new music from their Spark City performance on Sadler’s Youtube.

“People are open to weird in Providence,” Derek Knox, 25, lead vocalist and guitarist, gratefully says.

He started the project upon moving to Providence four years ago from his hometown in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I knew when I moved to Providence, I wanted to start a band,” he recollects.

A recently new bassist, Nicholas Sadler, joined the team along with killer drummer, Anna Wingfield, who entered the group only one year ago.

From left to right: bassist Nicholas Sadler, drummer Anna Wingfield, and vocalist / lead guitarist Derek Knox.

At AS220 this past Saturday, they played off-stage and at level with the crowd – the stage was purportedly set up for the headlining band Protomarytr. As Wingfield racketed controlled beats, her stark black boots reflected the little light that shone over the entire band. The boys wore classic flat-footed canvas shoes, stepping on a few pedals in between songs. Sadler bridged together the leading phrases and backdropped drumming in a matching black hat that masked his facial expressions. Derek directed his obscure lyric and jaunty body movements while spooling out inevitably catchy guitar lines to a small but lively crowd.

Ironically, Derek and the band believe that melodic music is not the hallmark sound of Providence. It’s a grungier feel than expected from an old New England town.

A former English and Music major in college, Derek writes most of the music which spins off a theme of “Retro-scifi” he discovered as a kid. Fascinated by shows like “Twilight Zone” and “Way Out” that fantasized about the future, he was also inspired by bands like The Wire, The Chameleons, and Wipers. Derek's Vocal distortions give an alien echo similar to that of shoegaze.

After appropriately ending the six-song set with “To The Grave,” Knox took his routine smoke right outside AS220. He modestly showed off a few skateboard tricks outside the venue, cigarette in hand, as he chatted with a few friends who from afar could’ve been mistaken for local fans.

Way Out, however, doesn’t perform for the number of “likes” they get in person or online. They perform for the sake of being 101 percent eccentric. If their creepy black and white album cover art of disturbing faces is not convincing enough, then their gloomy chord progressions and phantom vocals might prove more emblematic of their eerie aesthetic.

Sadler and Wingfield also experiment on their own off-kilter PVD-based projects. Sadler, a multi-media artist composes solo-works released via Foreign Sounds in addition to his works listed on his personal website ranging from pumpkin art to detailed ink sketches.

Wingfield also sings in a woman’s punk choir called, Assembly of Light Choir.

“I like things that are more spooky,” she says with a coy smile on her face.

Way Out will be recording new material in the next month at Machine and Magnets, a popular Providence recording studio and gallery. The release format is still unknown and yet to be deliberated by the band.

Prepare for some haunting digital and hopefully physical releases from these guys soon.