Alameda-based band Finish Ticket, whose bassist, Michael Hoye, is a first-year student at UC Davis, has made it to the final 10 out of 94 bands competing for the chance to open alternative rock station Live 105’s “Not So Silent Night” concert extravaganza. The show will be held on Dec. 10 at San Jose’s HP Pavilion.
Voting for the contest started Sunday and will close on Friday at 3 p.m.
Other bands performing at this rock music extravaganza will include Smashing Pumpkins, Phoenix, The Black Keys, My Chemical Romance and Broken Bells.
In addition to Hoye, Finish Ticket consists of Brendan Hoye (vocals, keys, first-year at Cal Poly Pomona), Alex DiDonato (guitar, vocals, sophomore at UC Santa Cruz), Chris Arellano (guitar, keys, first-year at Berklee School of Music) and Garren Orr (drums, first-year at Emerson College).
“We’ve seen a lot of support from fans over the last few days and it’s great to know that even after going around two months without a live show we still have support out there,” Michael said.
Brendan said that winning the contest and getting to perform with some of today’s biggest acts would be an unforgettable experience.
“It would be a dream come true for every one of us,” he said.
A self-defined indie-pop group, Finish Ticket has performed at venues such as San Francisco clubs Bottom of the Hill and Rickshaw Stop. Members of the band came together in March 2008 while attending Alameda High School.
They had initially started off as two separate bands – Brendan, his brother Michael and guitarist Chris in one band, and Garren and Alex in the other. Brendan said that the band he was in at the time practiced a lot but “wasn’t too serious.” Since no one was really taking the band off the ground, they decided to call it quits.
A few days after that Brendan asked members of Garren’s band if they wanted to do a jam session together.
“We ended up meshing well. We were getting stuff done,” Brendan said. “Within our first month, we had a Myspace and a few songs. It’s that chemistry we have that’s making us all try to get stuff done even now that we’re all at different schools.”
Brendan jokes that stylistically, Finish Ticket’s music would be the offspring of a three-way between The Killers, Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie.
“In regards to our self-proclaimed ‘indie pop’ status, I know that indie and pop sort of contradict one another, but for us it applies.” Brendan said. “Especially because my initial band – before we blended with Garren’s – was more pop-y while theirs was more reminiscent of Radiohead. I think us blending together made way for all of us into this more eclectic, unlikely genre of ‘indie pop.'”
While Garren and Alex’s music was more about the lyrics and the meaning, Brendan said that when he listened to music, it was more for the hook. When the two bands joined, they combined their fortes to make for music that at once has catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics.
“We try to combine the originality and authenticity of ‘indie’ music with the memorability and catchy-ness of modern popular music,” Alex said.
Their latest album, Shake a Symphony, consists of six tracks, many of which touch upon the theme of hopes and aspirations.
“This draws from my high school experiences where I was trying to balance school with music,” Brendan said.
“Her Way Out” starts the album off as a song about a princess being forced into loyalty even though she wants to live her life as a normal citizen. The album ends with a track about a failed songwriter, titled “Rivers.”
Finish Ticket ended the album on this note to give it a more meaningful structure. By beginning with high hopes on track one and finishing with reality dose on track six, the musicians send out a message bolstered by hopes but grounded in realism.
“‘Rivers is my favorite track because it reminds me of what I don’t want to be doing,” Brendan said. “The song writer is trying to leave his mark on the world but failing to succeed. Although I don’t want to end up like that, at the same time I do want to pursue my dreams instead of giving up.”
You can vote for Finish Ticket in the “Not So Silent Night” competition on Live105.com. Shake a Symphony, which they released in August of this year, can be purchased on iTunes or on their website, finishticket.com.
ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.