Minneapolis band Gully Boys play in Des Moines before heading to SXSW

About five years ago, the founding members of the Minneapolis group the boys of the ravine didn’t know how to play the instruments they now tour with, leading to a SXSW performance (south by southwest) next week with a stop in Des Moines at Gas Lamp Sunday.

“Kathy (Callahan), the lead singer, and I were both working at (the clothing store) Ragstock and we were closing up and talking about our shared love of Panic! at the Disco,” recalls Nadirah McGill, drummer and vocalist for the band.

As the couple began to talk the Brendon Urie– led pop-punk bandknown for hits like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, McGill realized they had followed the theme Panic at the Disco! by Callahan tumblr Blog. Then they realized they wanted to start a band.

Callahan contacted a college friend, Natalie Klemond, who had just acquired a bass guitar. The trio – blessed with a largely rudimentary knowledge of the instruments – played together, covering Best Coast’s “Boyfriend” as practice.

“We declared we were a band and six months later we had our first gig and realized we had nothing written,” McGill said. “So we started writing…and we never stopped (performing).”

The Gully Boys are from Minneapolis.

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The band’s song catalog includes titles like “Neopet Graveyard” and “Russian Doll”. So far, the Gully Boys have released two EPs – “Favorite Son” and “False” — and an album, “Not so brave.”

“Not So Brave” was the raw cry. ‘Phony’, we tried to be soft and more balanced and realized we were somewhere in the middle,” McGill said. “‘Favorite Son’ is a good mix of angst, grungy root and pop influences. ”

The group was originally supposed to play SXSW — an Austin, Texas-based multi-day festival that celebrates music, technology and film — in 2020 which was canceled due to the pandemic. McGill considers it a blessing that the performance did not take place.

Over the past two years, not only does McGill feel the band has found a more cohesive sound, but the trio added Mariah Mercedes at the end of last year as the band’s lead guitar.

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The Gully Boys will stop at Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave., at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. People 21 and older can attend the show for a $10 admission fee. Other performers on the night include Des Moines-based indie rock band fox holes as well as the pop rock sounds of McKenna Alise and the Great Galvanic Division.

The stop is part of the band’s first major tour with Side Door, a company that aims to help small artists make a name for themselves. The Gully Boys are one of five bands Side Door partnered with SXSW to help organize the tour leading up to a showcase at SXSW on March 18 at the newsroom.

“I feel like now we’ve finally found our rhythm,” McGill said. “It still amazes me every time I see someone we don’t know sing to our music.

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Join it at [email protected]gannett.com or 319-600-2124, or follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.

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