Photo by John O'Callaghan

Big Eyes, Big Sound

Singer-guitarist Kait Eldridge is the epitome of a dedicated bandleader. She’s prevailed through various line-up changes and relocations across the country, all while remaining the sole songwriter of the band Big Eyes.

But Eldridge still butts up against the macho BS that exists within music scenes — especially due to the fact that she’s the only woman in the group.

“There’s definitely been a good handful of times when we play somewhere and [the person at the door] will ask everyone for their IDs and then try to charge me an entry fee,” says Eldridge. “They just assume that all the men are in the band.”

She adds: “It’s 2017. Things are getting better, but every once in a while I still get that sound guy that tries to teach me how to use my amp.”

But Eldridge, also a past member of indie-pop-punk band P.S. Eliot, is knowledgeable, and she’s experienced. She started New York-based Big Eyes in 2009 but had been playing music years before that.

“I started playing guitar in seventh grade, when I was 12, and I started having bands when I was about 14,” she says.

Big Eyes shows the focus of someone who’s been around the musical block a few times.

Eldridge says the band is influenced by the likes of Cheap Trick and The Ramones as well as poppier acts like Fleetwood Mac. A precise mash-up of genres, Big Eyes fills the space between pop, punk, power-pop and hard rock with the help of raucous distortion, a ton of palm muting and Eldridge’s anthemic vocals.

The band is touring with a full four-piece lineup for the first time since the release of Stake My Claim, its third studio album, on which Eldridge says she worked hard to “trim the fat” and make more cohesive than previous works.

“The longer that we play, the tighter we get and the more comfortable we get,” she says. “We’re just a loud band having a lot of fun.”

Big Eyes is playing an all-ages show 7:30 pm Monday, May 1, at Interzone in Corvallis with support from Corvallis band Dumb Luck and Eugene band The Shifts. $5 at the door.