When Kansas City, Missouri-based band The Greeting Committee saw their song “Hands Down” become a radio hit, peaking at No. 39 on the Billboard Alternative chart, there were no cracked bottles of Champagne or VIP rooms reserved at an exclusive club. It’s not to say that the four-piece band weren’t interested in celebrating, it was just that they had more pressing matters to attend to — namely graduating high school. Four years later, the group is on their first headlining tour and making a stop in Dallas on Wednesday at Three Links.
The four members that make up The Greeting Committee — lead singer Addie Sartino, guitarist Brandon Yangmi, drummer Austin Fraser and bassist Pierce Turcotte — have been on an accelerated path of success, from touring with bands like Jukebox the Ghost to hitting stages at SXSW before they managed to cross a stage to receive their high school diplomas.
Sartino attributes the good fortune of “Hands Down” being discovered and played on their local Kansas City radio station as a turning point for the band and their lives.
“Ever since then I feel like it’s been super surreal,” Sartino says. “It’s one of those things that’s so crazy that if you stop to think about it, it just doesn’t make sense, so eventually you learn to stop trying to think about it so much, and just try to be appreciative and grateful that you’re in that position at all.”
Sartino acknowledges the differences between the role of a headlining act as opposed to the lower stakes, underdog position of opening a show, but touring with and learning from Jukebox the Ghost gave her perspective on the task ahead. Not that it makes the nerves any easier for their first tour.
“There’s a pressure of like, ‘Oh wow, they really came to see this — we need to put on our best show,'” Sartino says. “And we always feel that way, even as an opener, but maybe as an opening act you can kind of have that relief of like 'Oh well, if this venue didn’t sell out, it’s not our show technically.’ Whereas if you’re the headlining act, if people don’t show up, it’s totally on you.”
The monthlong tour for The Greeting Committee will see the band make its way across the U.S. in promotion of their first full-length album, the October 2018 release This Is It. The selection of tracks range from the energetic to introspective pathos, which combined accomplishes the rare feat of creating an experience that warrants listening to the album as a whole from start to finish.
It’s easy to forget while listening to This Is It that the personal examination of the transition into adulthood isn’t coming from a place of wisdom looking back on hard lessons learned, but rather a self-aware account of what’s happening to the group now. The maturity of the song arrangements and lyrics reflects a prodigious level of talent hinted at in the group’s previous EP releases, It’s Not All That Bad and Meeting People is Easy, quelling any fears that “Hands Down” was a fluke success.
The decision to release a full-length album instead of intermittent singles was a topic debated within the group, but ultimately they felt the format was the best way to explore their message.
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“I totally get that’s actually not what is in demand right now,” Sartino says. “People want quick releases, but I think there’s something really beautiful you can do with a full album cycle that dives into the art and the message behind it.
“This Is It is definitely a record about growing up and kind of when you have hit the age of 19 or 20, you look around and you wonder, is this it, is this all there is? And could I have said that in two songs, three songs? I’m sure I could have, but how much more fun it is for me to be able to elaborate on that, and really grab every aspect of that.”
After wrapping up the tour, the plan for The Greeting Committee is to head straight back to the studio for more recording. Any doubts the group felt about their accomplishments up to this point, whether anyone was listening at all, has been put the rest by the faces they’ve seen from city to city. The audience turnout for the tour has served to calm and energize a young band still finding its place, selling out in New York, Washington, Columbus and Austin.
“I don’t think we thought that was going to happen,” Sartino says. “And to say you’re playing a sold-out show is a really nice reward. ‘OK, maybe we are doing something right if people are taking the time out of their day to come spend their evening with us.’ We’re lucky for that and the fact that we get to form that bond and even have a fan base at all. For me, I think I needed to have that before we go make more music.”