Name a few of the social media outlets that have come and gone since the year 2000. Care to guess which one would ultimately spawn a majority of the indie hits of the past decade? Go on, guess. Yes, Twitter gave us Justin Bieber, but there’s a far stealthier music progenitor by the name of MySpace — ask your grandparents. MySpace is what millions of users abandoned to join Facebook, leaving behind a sleeker, more refined e-space for budding musicians such as Never Shout Never, an indie rock outfit that made waves on the site back in 2007, sending it down a path to major success.
When Never Shout Never (NSN) takes the stage at the Ventura Theater, it will have gone through several changes since its debut. Vocalist and guitarist Christofer Drew founded NSN and was immediately recognized on MySpace, and from there, MTV’s Total Request Live and the release of the band’s first EP, The Yippee EP. Alongside bassist Taylor MacFee and guitarist Hayden Kaiser, the group has released three studio albums and has collaborated on several side projects.
This isn’t to say that it’s been all rainbows and lollipops for the young group. Drew, no stranger to appearing on the wrong side of the law, has battled a drug problem that he only recently kicked after two felony charges, a move that put his international tour on hold.
One could say that NSN’s catalog can be summed up by experimentation, success and failure, culminating in where it stands today: a group with more than 3 million fans on Facebook, re-imagined and ready to please the younglings who made Drew and his merry band of musicians the success they’ve become.
2010’s What is Love? defined the band as an emo-influenced, pop-rock powerhouse capable of hitting the highest highs with saccharine-sweet lyrics and immediately afterward delving deep into the recesses of loneliness and abandon. The same year brought us Harmony, an album that, for fans of the emo movement (or “Emovement”), helped to cement Drew as a poster child for the scene.
Unfortunately, Harmony didn’t live up to the high standard created by What Is Love? Rather, fans and critics found the album a bit too experimental. It wasn’t until the following year that NSN found both success and critical acclaim with Time Travel, a return of the prodigal son to the love-letter sound.
But it may not have been enough for Drew to be successful. After Time Travel’s release, Drew went on a somewhat bad publicity stint — arrested once again, an event that he called a “humbling experience” during an interview on the Internet-exclusive The Gunz Show in June. As if that wasn’t enough, an interview with the band by e-celebrity BryanStarz turned ugly when Drew mocked the host for his line of questioning. Whether warranted or not, Drew received hate mail and backlash that prompted to him to apologize, another incident he referred to as “humbling.”
This year’s Indigo, released in November, is a welcome return to form for the band. The single “Magic” is an electronic and acoustic mishmash that harks back to the days of Ben Folds with vocal harmonies and an air of whimsy. If Indigo is any indication, NSN’s humbling experiences have paid off.
What can fans expect from NSN’s Friday night show? A return to origins or an experimental jam session? The thing about Never Shout Never is that one can never know; one can never guess what might occur or better, what might be played. Come expecting a show, leave with a bit of romance in your heart.
Never Shout Never will perform at the Ventura Theater on Friday, Dec. 14. For more information, visit www.venturatheater.net.