Saintseneca rise from small-town roots, play Black Cat

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Everly Jazi. 

Standing in the dark lower room off the the Black Cat’s bar, 40 devoted fans waited for folk-punk band Saintseneca to finally take the small stage.

As the group started to set up its collection of obscure instruments, the crowd doubled and the audience forgot about personal space.

Zach Little of Saintseneca. Photo courtesy of the band's official Facebook page
Zac Little of Saintseneca. Photo courtesy of the band’s official Facebook page

The band started out as a few childhood friends from the Appalachian foothills in Ohio. Zac Little, the founder and today the only original member of the band, studied sculpture at Ohio State University while going to DIY shows and meeting an entire community of Columbus musicians.

Saintseneca soon became part of this circuit.

“There are a lot of really good bands [in Columbus], so there’s a lot to be inspired by,” Little said. “I guess it was also being part of the music scene here that gave us the opportunity to book tours and things like that on our own terms because we were always doing DIY shows, like punk tours and things like that.”

Anti Records released the group’s second album, “Dark Arc,” in April, which quickly became an alternative folk and post-punk favorite. As the band started strumming, a wave of calm flowed over the crowd. All five band members sang in unison, a collective voice heard on many folk tracks.

They played a couple of songs then switched instruments, a three-string dulcimer and a traditional bass changing hands.

Gripped by the multi-instrument cast, the audience started swaying with the band’s most popular track, “Happy Alone,” which the band played third in its set instead of during the usual encore exit.

Their latest album was inspired by post-punk bands like the experimental Xiu Xiu and classics like The Cure. Themes of life cycles and fate started to form the record, Little said. With abstract lyrics that are open to interpretation, this album is darker but deeper than their first album, “Last.”

“It [came at] a time when the lineup of the band was changing so dramatically and a lot of other things in my life were, too,” Little said. “And I think that all of these changes and transitions were things that helped inspire a lot of the overarching themes in the record – just in terms of how there is a similar narrative arch that plays out in a lot of things.”

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