May 22, 2009
Cortland band gears up for big show Saturday
McGraw, Cortland natives will open for national act during event at state fairgrounds
An Hour Within, a rock band made up of three McGraw natives and a Cortland native, is opening for a nationally known band called Saliva at a concert in Syracuse on Saturday.
They will perform for an expected crowd of 8,000 people during the third annual Dysfunctional Family BBQ at the New York State Fair’s Chevrolet Court.
This will be, by far, the largest crowd the young rockers have ever faced.
Their friends have asked them if they are nervous, but they are pretty calm, Cortland native Jay Ching, the band’s lead singer, said Wednesday as the band’s four members sat at a booth in A&W All-American Food in Cortlandville, where Ching works part-time.
“The more people there are, the more crazy we get on stage,” Ching said.
Ching, 20, and McGraw natives Shawn Oliver, 20, Theodore Livermore, 19 and Marc Dayton, 18, have been playing together for about a year and a half. Oliver described the band’s sound as “very alternative rock with a slight trace of hardcore.”
Ching and Dayton are the band’s guitarists, Livermore is the bassist and Oliver is the drummer. They will soon be joined by Brandon Anthony, a guitarist from Cicero, so Ching can stop playing guitar and focus on singing.
“I can put more energy into the songs when I’m just singing them,” Ching said.
Ching graduated from Cortland High School and is now studying electrical engineering at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Oliver, Livermore and Dayton are McGraw High School graduates. Oliver works at the Cortland Community Reentry Program. Dayton is studying Web design at TC3.
Syracuse radio station 106.5 K-rock, which is hosting the concert, has been playing “I’ve Always Tried,” which the band members said is their strongest song. The song is about “miserably failed love,” and people have contacted the band through the Web site MySpace to say that it has helped them through hard relationships, Ching said.
“Pretty much everyone who listens to it can relate to it,” Dayton said.
Nixon, program director and radio host at K-rock, asked the band members to play at the concert about a month ago. He heard about the band when a radio host at K-rock’s sister station WTKW TK99.5 gave him their CD. Nixon would not give his full name.
TK99.5 had played the band during its local music hour on Sundays, Ching said.
“I had heard them. I knew we needed a local band on the bill, and they stood out, so we chose them,” Nixon said Thursday. “There are a lot of bands out there, so to say they’ll be superstars is hard, but they’ve got potential. They sound pretty good.”
The band will play at 1 p.m., taking the stage before five other bands. The concert concludes with the performance of Saliva, a band formed in the 1990s that has released several singles that have made the U.S. Billboard Top 200 list.
An Hour Within has composed eight songs that it plays during shows. The quartet is working on a cover version of “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles.
The band has previously played at Lucky’s and Ivan’s, two bars in Cortland, and the Cortland Youth Center.
The band has also recorded a three-song CD with Brett Thorngren, a Brooklyn-based producer who has family in the Cortland area, the members said. They will begin selling the CDs during the concert Saturday.
The band has scheduled a two-week tour this summer, during which they will open for Never Ending Conflict, an Ohio-based rock band. The tour includes stops in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio and Indiana, said Dayton.
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