– by Melissa Greenberg
My dad has given me many great gifts over the years, but the one that I may be the most thankful for is Guster. He introduced me to the band when I was in kindergarten––I remember listening to their second album Goldfly in the back of our family minivan when we brought my younger sister home from the hospital after she was born. Since then, my family has seen Guster perform 10 times in 5 different states. Earlier this year, Guster announced their tour dates for their newest record, Evermotion. The second I saw that they’d be playing House of Blues in New Orleans (where I attend Tulane University), I called my dad and he booked a flight to New Orleans so we could go together. If that doesn’t show how much my dad and I love them, and how much my dad loves me, then I don’t know what does.
Guster is an American alternative rock band formed out of Boston, Massachusetts. The band has morphed over the course of the past 24 years since they met at Tufts University from the original three members to the current four, with bassist and backup vocalist Luke Reynolds joining the band in 2010. Starting out as a small college band with a tiny cult following, the group’s fanbase has grown tenfold and the cult following has transformed into an incredible fan base, made up of music fans spanning multiple generations. Known for years for their use of acoustic guitar and unique drums (specifically of the bongo, djembe, and conga variety), the group’s latest release, Evermotion,was hailed as a brave departure from the band’s more guitar-heavy albums with its foray into the world of contemporary rock. After enlisting producer Richard Swift (some may know him as the bassist for the Black Keys or keyboardist for The Shins), Evermotion transformed into an album unlike anything the band or its fans were expecting. Loaded with synthesizer, horns, and xylophone, the classic Guster guitar solos (from guitarists Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner ) and drum solos (courtesy of drummer Brian Rosenworcel) are still present, but certainly less emphasized.
While the musical direction of the band may have shifted with this past record, the performance they put on to display it has only gotten better. The older the band gets and the more records they put out, the more seasoned they become as performers and the more fun it becomes to be a fan. Guster as a whole is known amongst its fanbase for its sense of humor: take one look at their Twitter account, or this Funny or Die video from their appearance at Bonnaroo this past year and you will understand:
They have perfected the art of connecting with their fans through social media in a way many bands and musicians have been unable to; Guster wants to interact with their fans because they understand that it is what sets them apart from all the other indie-rock outfits trying to take on the same listeners. This is apparent during every show, when you realize the audience knows the words to every single song and Miller, the lead vocalist, just stops singing and lets the fans take over. It’s apparent through the band’s playful banter with each other that even after 24 years of performing together, they still enjoy each other, which is such a critical part of the Guster concert-going experience.
We all have bands that hold special places in our heart: maybe their music was the first you ever bought, maybe their album got you through a tough time in your life, or maybe their music was the soundtrack to some of the best times you’ve had. Whatever the reason, you feel a loyalty to their music. You’ll be a lifetime fan because their songs bring you back to the moment you fell in love with them. Guster is that band for me: I’ll be forever grateful to my dad for bringing them into my life so many years ago, and forever grateful to Guster for giving me something to bond over with my dad for years to come.