Sharing a meal together, Find Vienna spoke in between the noise of a fellow artist’s sound check. Everyone seemed a little tired, as the band members had been touring for three weeks, playing venues like World Cafe Live.
Find Vienna, originally from North Wales, Pa., consists of drummer Mark McGuire, singer-guitarist Pat Mencel, bassist Paul Mencel and guitarist Ian Walsh. Paul Mencel and McGuire are former Temple students. The band’s first show was at Mitten Hall. The group met each other in their high school jazz band, with Walsh joining later.
The band discussed the tour, their favorite place to play in Philadelphia, Union Transfer, and their tour van — a 15-passenger vehicle that they affectionately call “Baunach the Hedgehog,” named after their tour manager Michael Baunach.
“It’s hard to be a band in Philly,” McGuire said.
For a band that’s released two successful EPs, signed a major management deal and is at work on its debut full-length, the members appear battle-hardened.
“The band sustains itself,” Pat Mencel said, discussing the troubles of being an indie band struggling to make it. “We’re in this for the long haul.”
“I want our music to have a mood or fit a season,” Pat Mencel added.
Despite humble beginnings, the band remains ambitious.
“Think big, dream big,” Pat Mencel said. “We’re at a difficult stage in our lives. Even though we had good management, and still do, it was like, ‘How do we sustain ourselves? How do we continue to be a band?’”
“The chips are down,” Walsh said. “You make that decision that this is what you’re going to do, you say I’m going to be in a band and if I’m 35 before I can get married and have a kid, that’s fine.”
Pat said the reality of maintaining a musical career is the underlying theme of the band’s EP “In Flight.”
“Through all the bull—-, can you stick it out through the end?” Walsh said. “But we’re f—ing broke. You can’t really have a plan ‘B’ and really pursue this.”
“Every cent we have is in this band,” Walsh added.
Before their set, The Kin played, and McGuire and Pat Mencel praised their tour mates, singing along with them through the dressing room wall.
“There’s a great camaraderie on this tour that we’ve never experienced before,” McGuire said.
Before Find Vienna took the stage, the members huddled up into a circle and chanted: “There’s no place like home,” before walking out onto the stage and launching into their set.
Fans close to the stage could be seen singing along, looking straight up at the band members as they worked through their songs with precision and style.
Each band member has his own enthusiastic groove, matched by the fans dancing and singing in the front row.
During the song “Balance,” Paul Mencel worked his way across stage to rock out next to Walsh during an instrumental bridge. Their instrumentals were precise, with every little part contributing to the whole of the song and adding to the sonic landscape.
After the band’s final song, “You Know How,” the members exited stage right. As he headed backstage, Paul Mencel said to Banauch, “The light guy was the s—! He f—ing crushed it!”
As the band started to pack up and remove its gear from the stage, the crowd demanded more by chanting: “One more song!” The band members discussed with Banauch whether or not they could do an encore while the crowd continued to chant.
“We have to,” Pat Mencel said.
After their encore, band members mingled around the lobby with fans, signing autographs and taking pictures.
Kim Poehlmann, who was wearing a Find Vienna T-shirt, spoke about the show in the lobby, with the four members of the band milling around nearby.
Poehlmann, who was seeing Find Vienna for the third time, said the set was “too short” and that “the bass was pumping,” adding how Find Vienna has progressed with time.
“They’ve changed so much on this tour,” Poehlmann said. “They’ve become more open.”
Find Vienna has come a long way, and its members have no problem admitting that they still have a long way to go.
Jacob Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.