Mack Gilcrest, primary songwriter with Missoula, Montana-based band Pale People, says his music celebrates the unpopular and disaffected among us.
The trio is comprised of Gilcrest on piano and vocals, Kurt Skrivseth on bass and guitar and Austin Graef on drums and percussion. The band is touring to raise funds to release its second album, Portraits.
The record’s first single, “Steven,” is available now on the band’s Soundcloud page and is a prime example of Pale People’s unique sound, which Gilcrest describes as “Broadway punk.” Overall, Gilcrest says he is inspired by the unconventional, such as reality TV star Honey Boo Boo and internet porn.
“Most of our material ends up being about feeling beyond the borders of human society,” Gilcrest says. But regardless of what unusual things inspire him, Gilcrest’s words are always couched in darkly theatrical music that evokes Kurt Weill, Tom Waits or The Dresden Dolls.
“You take the musicals of Stephen Sondheim,” Gilcrest says of Pale People’s sound, and mix it up with piano rock and weird prog-rock, and throw in some jazz influences.
“If you were to take musical theater,” Skrivseth interjects, “and compress it into three-minutes you’d be close — with less leotards.”
Pale People plays twice in Eugene alongside Seattle piano-rock outfit Henry Mansfield and the Bearded Scooter Gang, first at 9 pm Thursday, Jan. 5, at Old Nick’s Pub; $5, 21-plus. They perform the following night 10 pm Friday, Jan. 6, at Black Forest with Captain Wails and The Harpoons; FREE, 21-plus. — William Kennedy