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Amherst teenage prodigies, Who Shot Hollywood to play Pearl Street

No one in the band is old enough to drive. Not even close. Yet the members of Who Shot Hollywood, all 14 and 15 years old, have produced their own records, played all over the country, and have already begun to endear themselves to larger acts such as The Fray and Man Man. Hailing from the heart of Amherst, Who Shot Hollywood will take their youthful and exuberant act to the stage at the Pearl Street Nightclub on Saturday night, along with other acts including Client #9, Mountain Interval and Bad Vibes.

The band formerly known as Bull’s Eye formed in 2005 when they were mere elementary students. Although they have gone through numerous lineup changes since then, the band has always consisted of brothers Lucas and Dana Kendall. “I guess we got our start in music jamming out during karaoke at a birthday party,” said bassist and lead singer Lucas. “I had never really taken bass lessons, Dana took some lessons on drums.” The rest of the group includes Eamon Wick on keyboards and Lucas Graham on guitar, who is the cousin of one the band’s close friends.

“I guess I would describe our style as garage rock,” said Lucas. The guitar driven, noise-pop group has evoked comparisons to bands such as the Tokyo Police Club and more recently, the Pixies, who got their start at UMass. While flattered by these comparisons, Lucas and the rest of the band have a difficult time drawing comparisons or classifying themselves because they’ve experimented with so many different sounds and styles. “It’s weird because we’ve changed so many times,” said Lucas. Drawing from a myriad of influences, Lucas cited Daniel Johnston and the aforementioned Tokyo Police Club as two of his favorites.

Just in time for its show, Who Shot Hollywood will release its new album “Cat Ears” on Saturday. The album includes tracks “Renee” and “Who Shot Hollywood.” Filled with some dissonant, distorted guitar riffs, cheery keyboard licks and some catchy melodies, “Cat Ears” represents a change from the band’s previous work. “I actually don’t really like any of our old stuff,” said Lucas. “Our new album is really big, punk rocky, with a lot of synth noise.” Lucas displays a little punk rock angst on “Who Shot Hollywood,” with the lyrics “I hate your son, I hate the girls who make fun.”

As far as the future goes, the band is living in the moment for the time being and taking things as they come. “We kind of started out just going to shows, handing out our demos to people,” said Lucas. “Now we’ve got people wanting to play with us, and label attention, it’s pretty cool.” Back when they were Bull’s Eye, they even opened up for radio friendly band, The Fray. The band was so impressed with their demo that they actually called them from their car after a show and asked them to open a show. Since then, Who Shot Hollywood has traveled pretty extensively, playing shows in New York, D.C., Omaha and New Orleans, just to name a few. They also made an appearance at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. They’ve played with Man Man on a couple of occasions, and also opened up for Ted Leo and their idols, Tokyo Police Club.

The band represents just part of the music that is being created by the Valley’s youth these days. Opening act Client #9, an experimental, instrumental rock ensemble that has drawn comparisons to Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, recently walked away with first place at the Amherst Regional Battle of the Bands.

Saturday’s show begins at 7 p.m. at the Pearl Street Nightclub and tickets cost $10 at the door. For more information, visit www.iheg.com.

Dave Mansfield can be reached at dmansfie@student.umass.edu

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