EDITOR’S NOTE: As The Accidentals came to Goshen for a show at Ignition Music Garage Thursday, a group of Goshen College students led by instructor Marshall V. King documented the visit. The following story is a project of the Reporting for the Public Good class.
Prepping for the show
As the doors opened at 7 p.m. Thursday and concertgoers started trickling into Ignition Music Garage, The Accidentals were in the green room eating sushi from Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse just as they had in 2016 — the last time the band performed at Ignition.
When asked what their pre-show routine usually involves, Savannah Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause jumped up from their seats and formed a circle, performing a handshake that usually ends in gibberish.
Larson donned what she calls her “constellation pants” and joked that she really wanted the band’s orange NASA jumpsuits to make an appearance. The band dresses for shows with their custom-made clothing from an designer in Traverse City, Michigan.
The band made the five-hour trip to Goshen and were excited to back at Ignition where Buist remembers buying her first Ani DiFranco vinyl. Ignition also happened to be where the first shipment of their “Parking Lot - EP” vinyl arrived.
The Globe offers a welcome message
“Hello everyone. Welcome to Ignition Music Garage!” said Jason Samuel, general manager of Goshen College’s 91.1 The Globe as he introduced The Accidentals, adding there was no better place to be in Goshen on a Thursday night than a concert at Ignition.
For Samuel, the night is special because of what it means to The Globe. “We’ve been playing their music since they were in high school,” Samuel said. “We’re gonna do a little story on them. We’re gonna do a documentary piece and we’re gonna do a news piece for GC TV.”
Karen Ramos, a video producer at The Globe, said the concert is an opportunity to showcase the type of content viewers can expect as Goshen College changes Globe TV. “With this new TV station we want to show perspective viewers that we will work hard to give viewers what they want to see,” she said.
Tanner Camp, an announcer at The Globe, enjoyed interviewing the band members. “It was a blast, I was so nervous but they’re such great, great people,” he said. The rest of The Globe’s coverage will be appearing soon on GC TV, and this weekend on The Globe’s YouTube channel, he said.
New owners debut
Hours after they signed the purchase agreement to take over Ignition Music Garage, business partners Julie Hershberger and Tim Hochstetler hosted their first big event at their new business.
“I’m very excited and I’m also very nervous,” said Hershberger prior to the show. By the end, she was more relaxed and Hochstetler was dancing with his daughter as the band finished to standing ovations.
Jason Samuel, in introducing the new owners to the crowd, said they would write the next chapter of Ignition.
Hershberger and Hochstetler, who are taking over the business founded by Steve Martin, have experience in the music business and other downtown businesses.
Hershberger managed Orbit Music for three years and has hosted a radio show. She’s manager of Constant Spring. Hochstetler has taught at TG School of Music for 15 years and has owned TG Music, which is both a music school and retail store, for the last four and a half years.
Marshall V. King
The scene at Ignition
After the band was introduced, music began and the audience looked around to find the source of the sound as the performers were not yet onstage.
Buist, dressed in black Dr. Martens boots, black pants and a grey T-shirt and jacket, walked toward the stage from the back of the audience as she played her blue electric violin. Following her with electric red hair, in a similar outfit, was Larson playing the electric cello. Dause shortly followed onto the stage and took his position behind the drum kit and bass drum with the logo of the band’s latest album “Odyssey.”
With smoke from machines swirling, the lights submerged the band in color. The eight strobe lights positioned behind Dause changed color and effect throughout the show, acting as lasers one moment and slowly drifting around the room the next.
Buist and Larson switched instruments throughout the set. Both played the acoustic guitar and Buist played the electric violin as well as bass. Larson played the electric cello, and a yellow electric guitar that had Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night design on the scratchplate.
The band rocks
The Accidentals blended old, recent, brand new music and covers during Thursday’s concert.
The band opened with “KW” and played two other new songs before going back in time for the next few songs. The band members performed songs that they wrote back in high school, including “Sleeve” and “Vessel.”
The two covers in the show came from a variety of genres: “Capsized” by Andrew Bird and “Lazaretto” by Michigan native Jack White.
The Accidentals ended the night with a mash-up that combined many different genres including jazz, bluegrass and alternative rock. During the song, each band member had a solo along with harmonious sounds from all three. The medley brought the whole crowd to its feet and ended the show on a high note.
Manager drives progress
As the manager of The Accidentals, Amber Buist tries to make sure they don’t leave much to chance.
When she isn’t driving a Ram 3500 ProMaster across the country from the band’s home state of Michigan to whatever stop is next on tour, or coming up with new marketing strategies for The Accidentals YouTube channel, she’s making sure that the band is reaching goals, staying healthy and pursuing what they love.
Amber Buist was once a performer and knows how easy it is for young musicians to fall apart. “To be in this business without harming yourself, you have to form some pretty serious habits up front,” she said. “I’ve watched a lot people destroy themselves in this business.”
She’s encouraged the three-person band, which includes her daughter Savannah, to drink water, exercising during rest breaks while traveling and managing their mental health both at home and on tour. She also been training the trio to manage themselves during the past six years she’s been working with them. Payroll, scheduling, lodging — it’s now all organized by the band members.
“Every year, I’ll say, ‘What is your goal for this year? What do you see happening in five years?’ Because we need to be considering that in all of the decisions we make,” she said.
Longtime fan dances with abandon
Mike Vosteen dances like nobody cares.
He has been a regular at Ignition since 2013 and no show has ever let him down.
“When I came, I wanted to come more!” said Vosteen, who said he attends 80 percent of the shows.
He loves the music and isn’t afraid to show it. Vosteen lets his emotions loose and allows the music to take over. And frankly, he said, he does not care what other people think of his dance moves. He is moved by live music because of the vibration and energy of the band and audience.
From the bar
Every concert at the garage features a bar in the back, past the stage and through the glass doors. Adrienne Nesbitt and Chad Cripe came from their day jobs downtown to work at the bar, serving drinks to everyone over 21 at the concert.
Thursday’s crowd especially loved the beer from Goshen Brewing Company, a fan favorite. Other offered included a Heritage beer and PBR, the “hipster standard” as Nesbitt describes it.
Nesbitt noted Goshen is a great community that loves to support each other, including supporting local businesses such as Goshen Brewing Company. The community, “really likes to rally behind things,” she said.
Nate Butler, wearing his signature black cap, was listening to the sound mix for The Accidentals via an earpiece and adjusting the monitor levels for the band’s in-ear monitors with an iPad.
It’s a familiar role for him, but also with this band. “Actually I’ve been on the road with them for the past month doing monitors,” said Butler.
He’s loved the experience. “They are a professional band, they’ve been doing this for years, so there’s nothing, no surprises from that end of it,” said Butler.
He was pleased with the show and the turnout. “This is the first show with the new owners,” he said of Ignition’s ownership change. “So just the fact that like there’s a good audience that, you know, people and smiling and happy and things seem to be going well.”
Greeting the fans
Following an energized set packed with instrumental prowess and quirky banter, The Accidentals made a beeline for the merchandise table. Often tucked away in the back of a venue, this is where the band members socialize after nearly every concert, eager to offer conversation and photographs.
Despite often running on minimal sleep, Buist, Larson and Dause said they always make a point to mingle with their fans prior to packing up their trailer and heading to a hotel or host home for the night.
“Please come say hi to us afterwards!” Larson called with a smile midway through the show, prior to asking the audience for song requests.
As soon as the band stopped playing, a crowd began to form in the back of Ignition.
“Music exists to establish connection. It’s an honor [to talk to fans], and we take it seriously. Not many bands are able to do this,” said Buist, lead singer and co-instrumentalist, holding a box of homemade cookies from fan she’d just met.