BRNDA, a four-piece art punk band originating from Washington DC, will perform in Bloomington for the third time at 8 p.m. April 23 at Blockhouse Bar. Other bands Mister Goblin, Namen Namen and SYZYGY will also perform. Admission is $8 and is open to people aged 21 and older.
“I look at performing as a necessity,” guitarist Dave Lesser said. “You need to put yourself out there in society. You need to be willing to put it all on the line and say what you stand for. For me, that's what performing in BRNDA is.”
BRNDA first formed in 2012 when Lesser overheard drummer Leah Gage talking in the building they both worked in about a gig she was going to play and asked her to join his band.
Throughout the past ten years, the band has had a multitude of different members come and go. Lesser and Gage are the only original members. They’re currently joined by guitarist Mark McInerney and bassist Nick Stavely. Gage grew up in Bloomington and said she’s looking forward to playing at Blockhouse Bar.
Gage said it’s difficult to describe the genre of the band with words. They’ve been labeled punk, jangle pop, power pop, power punk, art punk, experimental and art rock.
“Do You Like Salt?” — their third and latest album — was released in 2021 and is also available on vinyl. Lesser is the primary songwriter.
“It was our most collaborative as far as writing and different people singing and different people taking the lead so I'm glad that it got out there,” Gage said.
Lesser said the album is about the approach to food that we take. After reading a book about salt, Lesser was inspired to write about where food comes from and what people do to acquire it, especially salt.
“There is something that I'm trying to say, and hopefully it means something to people,” Lesser said. “Hopefully, they like what I'm saying, hopefully, they like the reason that I've renewed my vows to the world.”
BRNDA is performing in Bloomington as part of their current tour. The farthest they have performed is Montreal, Québec and Peterborough, Ontario in Canada, but the band said they would like to tour in Europe or Japan.
Lesser said he likes to play in smaller towns and at house shows. One of his best memories, he said, was at a house show in Charleston, South Carolina. He said it felt like the house was going to fall over from how many people were there. BRNDA will be going back to Charleston on this tour.
Gage’s favorite part of being in a band is performing and feeling a connection with the audience.
“The feeling you get when you really make a connection, you can see ‘Wow, people are really into this,’” Gage said. “There's an indescribable energy exchange happening that I just love.”