Wichita has its share of homegrown bands, but few have left their mark on the national scene quite like Abandon Kansas.
The indie ensemble played nearly 300 shows last year to audiences in 41 states and more than 200 cities.
The band's name is somewhat ironic. Though proud of their Kansas heritage, its members have grown and developed as musicians precisely because they leave it so often to tour.
Tonight, though, Abandon Kansas is home for a show celebrating the release of its six-track EP, "We're All Going Somewhere." The show starts at 9 p.m. at Rock Island Live in Old Town.
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The band formed in late 2005 and began its fast-paced national touring schedule in 2007. Fronted by Jeremy Spring on vocals/guitar and rounded out by Brian Scheideman on drums, Brad Foster on guitar and Nick Patrick on bass, the foursome that comprises today's Abandon Kansas has been together for more than a year.
Spring is excited by the response the EP has gotten.
"It's very inspired by life on the move," he said. "A lot of the tracks are based on experiences we've had on the road. What's been gratifying for me is to see how different audiences relate to it. Everyone is on a road of some sorts and many are drifting through life. This album asks a lot of questions and opens it up for the listener to explore and find the answers."
Though Spring thinks the band's style is difficult to pigeonhole, many associate it with indie rock, with a glimmer of pop. The band's songs are melodic in nature, saturated with intoxicating lyrics and infused with subsurface meaning.
"We really strive to explore subjects that go deeper and that aren't played out by pop music you normally hear on the radio," Spring said.
In addition to indie fans, Abandon Kansas has also attracted a following through the Christian music scene. Its songs have gotten quite a bit of radio play, too.
"We do talk about our faith, but our music opens us up to talking about other issues, too. I believe that thinking Christians who appreciate art will like our music, though. We always strive to make a tasteful product."
The band's hectic touring schedule has paid off. Its MySpace music profile boasts nearly 1 million page views, with fans from all over the country. It's been profiled in Spin magazine. The Alternative Press featured Abandon Kansas as one of 100 Bands to Watch in 2010. Their song "Close Your Eyes" is part of Paste Magazine's "Songs for Haiti" compilation, which will donate proceeds to charities helping out with relief efforts.
Their national fan base is so big that they almost never have to book a hotel when traveling because fans who have become friends are more than willing to accommodate them. That's one of the things the band finds most heartening about abandoning Kansas for the open road.
"Honestly, it feels less like we have a large fan base and more like we just have a ton of awesome friends," Spring said.