Thursday, August 18, 2022
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Stronger than ever, The Greeting Committee is back with a hometown show

Kansas City’s indie idols are back. 

The Greeting Committee return home with a show at The Uptown on April 9, a finale to their monthlong headlining tour in promotion of their sophomore album, “Dandelion.” 

The tour was a clear sign of the band’s tremendous growth in recent years — they doubled and tripled crowd sizes from their 2019 tour and sold-out cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York along the way. Lead singer Addie Sartino says the experience completely revitalized her after two-plus years of pandemic life.

“I didn’t realize just how much of my identity is wrapped up in being on the road and being able to connect with our fans and make new friends,” Sartino says. “It’s hard to put an album out into the world without seeing people physically respond to it. You get the Internet, and it’s so awesome we have that to connect with people, but seeing people dance and sing to it is entirely different.”

The Uptown show is a unique full-circle moment for the group, as it was the last venue they played before the pandemic. At that time, The Greeting Committee had all the momentum in the world, Sartino says. The band had just toured with indie powerhouses Bombay Bicycle Club and Hippocampus, and their sold-out Uptown show marked their largest-ever headlining concert. But when COVID hit, all that momentum came to a grinding halt.  

“It was really a shot to everybody’s ego,” Sartino says. “There was so little movement, and it felt really discouraging.”

Not playing shows was a huge blow to a smaller act working its way up in the indie scene. But the pandemic also gave the band far more time to work on “Dandelion,” and Sartino says getting to write the album without the pressure for speed was especially rewarding.

“Normally it’s a stressful process of having people breathing down your neck wanting to deliver something. This time we just got to live with it, and that was really amazing.”

More time on a project doesn’t necessarily make it easier, however. Sartino says Dandelion was the band’s most challenging record to write, largely because they wanted to challenge themselves artistically in ways they hadn’t before. 

“We wanted to find the balance between not alienating fans that have been with us but also expanding our sound and expanding our own personal tastes,” Sartino says.

This also meant being a lot more selective with what made it onto the record. The band had 50 ideas floating around when writing “Dandelion,” but these were eventually narrowed down to 10 tracks that run just under 30 minutes. The result is an album that undoubtedly succeeds in Sartino’s goal of expanding the band’s sound, whether it’s with the fuzzy, driving synths on “Float Away” or the chopped-up saxophone that is the main riff on “Ada.”

And while Dandelion marks a big evolution for the band artistically, The Greeting Committee has grown just as much personally. Sartino says the group, which is coming on eight years together, has really learned how to cooperate with each member’s distinctly different personality. 

“I think music is what brings us together, not anything else, which is funny,” Sartino says. “Of course, we enjoy being around each other, but that was kind of a skill to learn, really how to be friends with one another. Because it wasn’t what was pulling us together, it was this unspoken chemistry and connection, which I think is very special.”

That connection began all the way back in 2014 when the group met as students at Blue Valley High School. From their first-ever gig at the school’s talent show to multiple headlining tours, The Greeting Committee has grown by leaps and bounds. But they’ve also had to juggle this with the growing pains of entering adulthood together. Sartino says the group went to band therapy for much of 2021, healing existing wounds and working on being kinder to one another. 

“When you’re 15 and 16, you’re going to act differently and make different decisions than you would at 23 and 24,” Sartino says. “But those wounds can stick around, so we’re figuring out how we can go about this movement in the healthiest way possible. How can we help each other accomplish our dreams in the best way possible, and how do we communicate with one another in a way that’s effective and rewarding to each other?”

In accomplishing this, the Greeting Committee is stronger than ever — and it couldn’t come at a better time for the band. On top of their successful tour, the group hit 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify last month. They also released a single, “Sort of Stranger,” with popular singer-songwriter Briston Maroney. 

Sartino says she’s working on celebrating herself and these accomplishments more, but that it can be hard because of how many of these milestones are a moving target.  

“A million monthly listeners on Spotify is amazing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a million people showing up to a concert,” Sartino says. “There’s a balance of being proud of ourselves, but also knowing it’s a fleeting connection. What really matters is the shows and the music to us.”

Sartino has big goals for the band, including one day selling out The Midland. Eventually, she hopes the band can sell out theaters of that size all over the country as well. But for now, the band is focused on its hometown reunion this weekend, a show that still feels surreal for Sartino.

“It’s got to be a nerves-related thing, which is good,” Sartino says. “I think it’s important to be nervous — that means that what you’re doing is worth it and exciting.”The Greeting Committee takes the stage at The Uptown at 8 p.m. Saturday. Remaining tickets are available here.

UMKC Alum Lucas Cuni-Mertz

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