Gainesville’s Jam Band, Whale Feral, Hits The Road
Maybe one of the biggest mistakes a band can make is staying in a place where they are too comfortable. It becomes so easy to rely on your devoted fans that unfailingly make it out to every gig at your regular venue. Combating the curse of contentment and diving headfirst in to something new is exactly what Whale Feral, Gainesville’s beloved jam band, has on tap over the next few months.
Composed of Matt Urban, Will Bethea, Ricky Cagno and David Havens, Whale Feral is an intriguing anomaly of the Gainesville music scene. The hallmark of their style is that you never really know what’s in store during a live performance. They keep their crowd coming back by constantly switching up the songs they play and the ways they play them. In the style of their influencers, the Grateful Dead, Whale Feral targets the excitement of putting on an untamed live show that isn’t anchored to a single genre.
Whale Feral is an intriguing anomaly of the Gainesville music scene. The hallmark of their style is that you never really know what’s in store during a live performance.
Through what the band considers to be pure luck, their latest live album made it in to the hands of the music tastemakers at Relix. Relix publishes articles and playlists of live music from all around the country. In light of their upcoming feature, Whale Feral has decided to hit the road for a mini-tour this March.
Working their way up to New York and then back down, the band is planning to stick to the true rock lifestyle of couch-surfing from city to city. It worked out perfectly that they will be simultaneously releasing their latest EP. Once they return from their travels, the band is excited to celebrate their new EP with their Gainesville fans.
The guys shared that the process of recording this EP really helped them to figure out who they are as a band. Each member comes from a different musical background with varying stylistic differences that contribute to the eclecticism of their sound.
“You can only be so prepared until you get to the studio,” said Urban about the recording process.
Cagno described Gainesville as “an incubator for a lot of good things.” It’s through the support of our artistically-inclined community that the band is able to branch out and travel.
Some of the band members are still students, which makes it harder for Whale Feral to do the amount of traveling that they’d ideally like to do. They have a giant calendar that has taken over the majority of the wall, so they can keep everyone’s busy schedules straight. It’s all about maximizing the influence they can have with their music.
So, what is the vibe of a Whale Feral show like? The word that kept coming to mind while I was jotting down notes at their last show at High Dive was “community.”
You couldn’t tell the difference between friends and total strangers because everyone was there to have a good time. Everybody was singing along to classics and dancing into the late hours of the night. Time seemed to flow at a different speed within the environment that their music created.
Urban put it perfectly when he said, “You’ve got to be able to handle the jams.”
The laid-back personalities of the band members are clearly mirrored in their performance style, and it really draws the audience into the experience of live music. Although Whale Feral will be spending a little time gigging outside of Gainesville, they will be back with new shows for our city in March.
You’ve got to be able to handle the jams.