In the basement of a large house in Boone, a young band of self-proclaimed weirdos regularly draws an enthusiastic crowd. The musicians wail on their instruments. And disrobe. The band’s name — The Nude Party — reflects exactly what takes place in that basement.
But, in the last two months, the group has begun to play its first shows beyond the incubator of house parties. An Asheville debut is set for The Odditorium on Friday, Jan. 31. That transition requires changes. Specifically, for legal reasons if nothing else, a little less full-frontal.
A band that openly proclaims its love of performing in the buff runs the risk of being dismissed as gimmicky. But a shtick, by its very definition, implies planning. The boys of The Nude Party are a musical experiment with no plan. Most of the members have been friends since high school. It wasn’t until last summer, spent at a house on Lake Norman, that they picked up instruments and began playing together.
“We’d always incorporated nudity into our lives, mostly because we think it’s funny, but also because we like to keep an openness between us all,” says drummer Connor Mikita. “We’d throw these parties where everyone would end up naked, usually in a canoe off the dock of the lake house, and we called them the nude parties. It was a kind of experiment to see how far you could take people out of their comfort zones.”
He adds, “That’s how the music started too, as soundtrack to that summer.”
The music of The Nude Party lacks clear definition. Singer Patton Magee offers two words to describe the collective’s sound: groove music. With even more irreverence, the guys list their musical influences as PBR and Oak Leaf Wine.
For their recent EP, Naked Brunch, the musicians draw heavily on blues and ’60s-era rock. They’ve been busy creating a wide variety of new material, even dabbling in covers of hip-hop classics. When it comes to what they play at live shows, lead guitarist Shaun Couture says, “I don’t think we’ve ever made a set list, or if we did, we just forgot it. We choose what we play based on the crowd.”
The Nude Party strives to keep its music and style undefined, even by its own members. The one clear principle of the band is a lighthearted approach to life. “We don’t really take too much seriously,” says Mikita. “There’s a lot of pretentiousness in most music scenes. We just try to keep it easygoing and funny. And naked.”
Yes, The Nude Party has courageously ventured beyond the basement. What performances for public consumption will offer, and how much skin will be revealed, remains as in the breeze as the rest of the band’s future. “It’s not like we’re planning on not getting naked,” Couture says. “It’s that we’re not planning anything.”
who: The Nude Party with Timmy Tumble and The Shine Brothers
where: The Odditorium, ashevilleodditorium.com
when: Friday, Jan. 31, at 9 p.m. $5.