The Weekend Run Club’s new single ‘Blossom’ showcases the band’s lineup, exciting new sound
Like a track off a “Pop-Punk Goes Indie” compilation CD, The Weekend Run Club’s newest single, “Blossom,” launches the band in a different direction. The same heartfelt filling underneath, but now with a fresh, new flavor. And a mostly different lineup.
Lead by frontman Mitchell Kinn, the five-piece (with four new members) has taken on a new sense of chill in its first release since the pandemic put the band on hold almost immediately after its first full-length release “Zoo” in February 2020. As COVID divided the original lineup into separate bubbles in part because of locations and lifestyles, it also pushed the former bandmates into pursuing new creative projects — namely OK Cool and The Young Detectives. So when the scene started opening up again, Lisle native Kinn began rebuilding The Weekend Run Club.
“There was a lot of self-doubt for a hot minute. Can I do this?” Kinn said. “The answer is yes, but it was a little weird for a bit.”
The new lineup has been playing on stage together for just over a year, but Friday’s single release finally showcases the members to a broader audience for the first time on streaming and purchase platforms. Kinn’s already strong songwriting and classically trained vocals take on a new contemporary sound as he moves the band into a more modern-rock space. Former McHenry artist Ryan Lammers (also of August Hotel) and Greg Taylor (also of Midamerican Elevator) bring sparkling and tight guitar riffs to the piece, a sharp balance to the hypnotic basswork conjured by Xack Brame (also of The Linden Method and Guardrail).
Glenview’s Gary Zucker rounds out the lineup as the band’s new drummer in a full-circle moment for him and Kinn. The two met at the airport years ago when Kinn was heading to study opera at the Boston Conservatory and Zucker was on his way to the Berklee College of Music. Kinn said the first local band show he attended was seeing Zucker play in The Steve Knecht Band (now The Burning Lights) when they were in college. Now the Glenbrook South grad has joined Kinn’s band back here in Chicago (as well as playing regularly with The Mackenzie O’Brien Band).
“I like being able to play a bunch of different things. And having some of the (The Weekend Run Club) songs open to more creativity was nice,” Zucker said. “It was fun to play around with concepts like that where I had to keep it simple but still make it me. But also still make it the band. So it’s a fun challenge.”
“I do most of the songwriting, and then people make it better,” Kinn responded, laughing.
The vibrant new blend of musical influences lends a freshness to The Weekend Run Club’s experimentation. And the fact that all the new band members are already so entrenched in other musical projects on the scene allows Kinn to rise to the challenge as the primary songwriter for the band.
“It’s like I have a vision and everybody kind of hops onto that vision and lends a hand, makes up for what I can’t do. And we create a vibe or a concept together, which works really, really well for me,” Kinn said. “The vision is most important to me. I’m like the lyricist, the poet and the emotional little baby heart of the band. So I’m about what we’re saying and how we’re saying it from the start.”
The result — as heard with “Blossom,” which was produced by James Kourafas of Capital Soiree and Friday Pilots Club — is an emotive but understated base the band can grow from. The song, written in the wake of the breakup of a long-running relationship as Kinn was also watching the band’s original lineup dissolve, speaks authentically about loss and transition, heartbreak and hurt feelings.
“I try really hard not to make the music about people feeling bad for me. I want people to identify with me,” he said. “I’ve always looked up to artists who know how to talk about a situation in a way that makes it sound like this is just what’s happening, and here are some reflections on it. Because that gives the listener much more permission to do what they want with it, and to pick and choose what they like or what it means.”
• The Weekend Run Club next takes the stage Thursday, April 6, with Under the Rug and Basic Printer at Reggies Music Joint, 2105 S. State St., Chicago.($15-$20 at reggieslive.com)