Blue October wsg Unlikely Candidates, Tori Vazquez
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m.
$25 advance/$28 doors
Justin Furstenfeld has turned a corner. The lead singer and songwriter of Blue October described the band's latest album as a personal and professional rebirth. After overcoming alcoholism and anxiety issues within the past couple of years, Furstenfeld is in a more stable place than in 2006, when the band found massive success with "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean." However, honest music can be difficult to write when demons are tamed.
"Writing about happy s**t is a lot more challenging, which in turn makes it a lot more rewarding," Furstenfeld said. "It's easier to write about how bad s**t is because then you don't have to worry about sounding like bubblegum."
Sway, which was released on Aug. 20, is far from bubblegum. In "Bleed Out," Furstendfeld writes from his wife's perspective to achieve a sense of just how difficult life had become, while "Hard Candy" reflects on the damaging effects of his past behavior. The album gives equal attention to both highs and lows, reflecting the balance Furstenfeld has finally reached in his personal life.
"I live in the moment now, so I write about it all. I want to focus on the whole and not be such a whiny twerp. I'd rather write an honest chronology of my life," Furstenfeld said.
"We wanted that human feel you get by playing a song through, not just correcting notes in a computer because, you know, life is work. That allowed the band to really shine and come together as a whole," said Furstenfeld.Another recent change for Blue October took place in the recording studio. On Sway, the band was striving to capture the connection they felt with fans and everyone around them, so instead of meticulous overdubbing and studio touch ups, most tracks were recorded live.
On Oct. 22, Blue October will showcase both new and seasoned material live at The Intersection. According to Furstenfeld, the band's live shows leave the members with hard-earned battle wounds.
"We leave it all on the stage, blood sweat and tears. It's not a good show unless we come out bruised and bloody."