Photo by Multiple Exposures
By Dawn of the Underground
The bare bones of what would become Victims of Experience (VOE) was first assembled in 2004 as a project for school. It was officially started in 2006. VOE consists of Kristin Lagana, “Queen of Bad Decisions” (vocals/keys), Dylan Schwacke (guitar), Steve Boughan (bass), JM Bittman (sax/keys), and Dave Stella (drums). Their self-described genre of “Awesome” is complemented by Kristin’s soulful, energy-driven performances of songs, along with a loyal “anything can happen” fan base. This base has propelled them to some large-scale musical accomplishments in this area, including performances at Opening Day in Baltimore, Artscape, and The Shindig Festival. They’ve been named one of the Top 40 Emerging Bands in Maryland in 2012, have been recognized as a Girls Rock Girls Rule Artist, and VOE has been the winner of several Battle of the Bands competitions. The band explains themselves this way –“If you went out, got drunk, and made some bad decisions, VOE would pop out nine months later.”
VOE is party band with a simple side who exude togetherness and pure raw emotion. This is obvious to anyone who sees the band perform. When competing for open slot on Shindig Festival, fan Abs Kase described them this way: “VOE got up there, all with the same looks on their faces, and I had never seen that before. Then when they started [the song] “Beast”, I realized they were all determined to win. I was like “Oh yeah… there’s that.” That’s my most memorable VOE moment for sure. I remember being really glad when they were all onstage sharing a group hug too after it was announced they had won. That was such a nice moment…like Ok, everyone, you can breath again, we did it.” Kevin Hock of 24-7 Entertainment/Loving the Lie adds, “my favorite VOE memory was seeing them play The Shindig Festival this year and watching Kristin meet one of her idols, Joan Jett. I have a special place in my heart for people who work hard and get what they deserve, and she rocked it. Kristin is a cool kid, and on a personal level has always been there to pick me up when I needed her as well.”
One of VOE’s best songs, “Queen of Bad Decisions”, is explained by Kristin this way: “[it] was written specifically about my best girlfriends having the best times in college, about that beautiful, young age of invincibility where there were no trepidation, and the only advice we chose to heed in the end was our own. No rules, accept consequences, make mistakes, then grow. The feel and content of Queens of Bad Decisions is fun and free, and that’s what I think makes it so well received, so enticing.”
The song “Down” is an introspective look at your worst critic: yourself. Throughout the song it appears to the listener that someone/thing is taunting the protagonist mercilessly: “The way you look at me, it brings me down.” In the bridge we discover it was coming from the protagonist the entire time. “Down” is a plea to remember that we should never let our doubts/fears/sorrows drowns u so deep inside our heads, or we may never get out.
I personally need to wear the Victims of Experience T-shirt proclaiming “Queen of Bad Decisions”, cause baby I earned it. But like Victims of Experience, I’ve made a lot of good ones too, and it’s the balance between good and bad decisions that makes life worth living. We all need to let our hair down, live life, and let go, and Victims of Experience is there to provide the soundtrack.
Make sure to check out their album “The Wrightway Sessions EP” which was recorded and released for The Shindig, the EP is a preview of more to come from Victims of Experience. Get your copy at a Victims of Experience Show or at http://victimsofexperience.bigcartel.com
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