A trio intricately tied to GW is back on a familiar stomping ground, but in a whole new element.
Instead of rocking the theater in Mitchell Hall where they got their start, Jukebox the Ghost is headlining one of the city’s most famous venues.
Six years ago, Tommy Siegel, Ben Thornewill and Jesse Kristin were performing for their closest friends at Tonic under the band name Sunday Mail.
The alumni are now better know as Jukebox the Ghost, a band whose pop-rock album, “Everything Under the Sun,” is described by Spin Magazine as “insanely hard to shake.”
The alumni will be headlining the 9:30 Club Dec. 1, hoping to fill an iconic venue that boasts a 1,200-person maximum capacity and often plays host to a sold-out crowd. The venue is potentially poised to hold the largest crowd on their six-stop east coast headlining tour.
Guitarist and co-vocalist Tommy Siegel summed up the band’s emotions with five words.
“We’re excited. We’re also nervous,” Siegel said.
Though the group has played more shows in D.C. than they can count, this will be their first time at the familiar venue – a recent winner of “Top Club (based on attendance)” at the eighth-annual Billboard Touring Awards.
“The Black Cat has sort of been our spot for a long time. 9:30 is a much bigger place, so this will either be the first of many 9:30 shows or our last,” Siegel said.
The band will kick off its nine-day U.S. tour only one month after returning from a whirlwind jaunt in Europe, opening up for mellow musician James Blunt.
Kicking off on Oct. 6 in Germany, the band played 18 different cities across the continent, ending in Switzerland on Oct. 31. Siegel said, “Every night was the biggest show we had ever played.”
The European tour brought a bevy of new experiences for Jukebox the Ghost, who had never before played a tour across the Atlantic.
“The German crowds were quiet and attentive. It scared the bejeezus out of us the first few shows,” Siegel said. “And it was the direct opposite in Lisbon. They didn’t buy CDs or anything, but they danced like crazy.”
During their time in Europe, Jukebox the Ghost was not only performing in front of thousands in huge arenas, but the trio was also writing new music for their third album, which they are putting the finishing touches on now. The final product will be released in spring 2012.
Siegel says fans can expect the album to be “a reflection of who we are, no longer as bubbly, spastic college students.”
Although the group is maturing, Siegel assures fans that the new album will retain “some sort of really danceable, retro elements,” the core of the upbeat pop-rock band that is similar in sound to Phoenix and The Morning Benders.
Though Siegel, Thornewill and Kristin have relocated to Philadelphia, playing in D.C. – and making the occasional pit-stop at GW – is like coming home.
“This is where we got our start, these are the roots,” said Thornewill in a 2010 interview. “And of all places to be, why not be where we started?”
The group has frequently come back to GW since their graduation, continuously building a Colonial following.
“Playing a show in D.C. for the sole purpose of being near the GW crowd is amazing,” Siegel says, “We’re all kind of blown away every time we play at D.C. that younger and younger people at GW that weren’t there when we were have heard of us, and we’re so flattered.”
After the mini U.S. tour, the band will play 11 shows, opening up for pop-rock group Jack’s Mannequin.
This article appeared in the November 21, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.