PCE Out LizRD Women
Originally posted April 28, 2016.
Walking up the stairs toward the third floor room of the house-turned-dorm, you can hear them practicing through the walls, murmuring voices and edgy guitar strumming. LizRd Women practices in singer/guitarist Dylan Kiely and bassist Matt Cruz’s Res Hall quint.
The room they use is long, narrow and cramped, containing three sets of furniture flushed against all the walls with a slight walkway in the middle. Band posters plaster the wall above Dylan’s bed and laundry spills out from underneath. Amps, pedals and a keyboard are scattered around the room, along with empty pizza boxes and dishes pilfered from the dining hall. The floor hasn’t been vacuumed in… maybe ever.
LizRd Women has come full circle. Next month, the Pop-punk band from Champlain College will perform their final show “Pce Out Burlingtron” at Radio Bean.
“Our first show was there, so why not our last?” Matt said.
Since August 2014, LizRd Women has been making people from Champlain College and the greater Burlington community laugh and cringe with their loud, angsty, somewhat comedic music that boasts relatable lyrics such as “I wanna watch Netflix with you in the worst way” and “someday I will look cute in a sweater.” The four-member-band currently consists of three Champlain Students, Dylan, Matt and Tyler Killer, and one UVM student, Megan Carswell.
In addition to the eight shows they had this semester, including their first paid gig at Champlain’s Admitted Student Day, they have an upcoming five song EP.
Yet the band’s success is peaking just as they’re about to begin an indefinite hiatus. (According to their Facebook, it’s not a forever hiatus, and both Matt and Dylan plan to reunite in a year.) Guitarist Phil Smith, left the band mid-February, and Dylan and drummer Tyler are graduating this semester and leaving Vermont. They are approaching their final show with mixed feelings.
“Nothing really feels like the end, it just feels like a hiccup, you know?” Dylan said.
LizRd Women describes their style as pop-punk.
“I think we’re pop-punk literally,” Matt said. “We are influenced by pop and we are influenced by punk, but we usually fall somewhere around emo or indie.”
The band started with Matt and Dylan joking about a drum machine Dylan had just purchased for his solo career; the drum machine is the Digital Boy referred to in their anthem “Digital Boy” which is recognizable for its rhythmic drumming, screechy guitar shredding and contorted screamed “rah-rah-rahs.” A week later, LizRd Women performed at the Grind.
“The point of it was mostly comedy; We practiced, like, once. Everyone really liked it. I think more because they liked Dylan and I, than they actually liked what we were doing,” Matt said. “I was sort of known for being a comedian at that point… and Dylan used to play pop-punk/punk-rock guitar covers.”
A month later, they gained Tyler as a drummer after he subbed for a show and became a permanent part of the band.
“For Matt and Dylan [LizRd Women] is more of a legacy; it’s like their baby. It’s their dream, and they’re the creative drive of the band,” Tyler said. “It’s more of an outlet for musical experimentation for me. Together it’s just a really fun time.”
Putting the Woman in LizRd Women
Back in the quint, it is four days before LizRd Women’s first paid gig, and Dylan is teaching their guitarist Megan, who replaced Phil earlier this year, as many songs as possible before the show.
Before Megan plays each song, they sing/speak/hum through the various parts, having some slight difficulties because Matt and Tyler aren’t there.
“Sorry, I’m bad at communication,” Dylan says.
“No, It’s working! I get you,” Megan responds.
“Finally someone does,” Dylan jokes.
The band met Megan when she started attending the Grind with her boyfriend Sam Notelovitz, a mutual friend. Later on at a party, a tipsy Megan played guitar for Dylan and Matt. They were impressed and asked her to join the band when Smith left.
“It really helps that we’re like really good friends already,” Megan said. “When they asked me, they were like ‘we want this to be a fun thing. We don’t want this to be a big stresser.’”
As Megan and Dylan practice, Megan mentions that she’s worried she’s “too tame” for the band.
“Do we need to practice moving around while playing instruments?” Dylan asks, “because that’s a real thing I do.”
They try it and Megan almost falls over completely.
Taking a breather after the near accident, Megan regales us with the story of a nightmare she had about the upcoming show.
“The other night I had a stress dream about the band,” Megan said. “Dylan texted me and it was like 4 p.m, and he was like ‘by the way, show at 9!’ and I was like ‘what?’ and I just kept yelling ‘but I only know three songs!’”
Two days later, Megan knows seven songs.
“Megan’s gonna be ready just in time for us to breakup,” Dylan said.
By their final show, Megan will have been in the band for seven weeks, learned 11 songs and played four shows.
“I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way,” she said. “It was like ‘HEY LEARN ALL THESE SONGS. WE’RE DOING THIS!’”
A Second Scene: In Which Many Amps Malfunction and a Lot of Goofing Off Occurs
Two weeks before their final show, the band is rehearsing and practice is getting off to a bumpy start. The room is filled with the sounds of three different guitars strumming three different clashing sets of chords.
The amp Megan is attempting to use is screeching at a greater volume than it’s projecting her instrument. She tries to power through while she tunes her guitar and meanwhile, Matt and Dylan jokingly sing and play different songs. Matt sits halfway through the room strumming; Dylan leans against the doorframe belting. They work their way into playing in sync.
“Alright, let’s play some songs that Megan can play,” Dylan says as they wrap up that song.
“That’s me, I’m Megan,” Megan chimes in.
“Let’s do Ilbidi,” Matt suggests.
Dylan beatboxes the drum part, because Tyler couldn’t make the rehearsal due to his work schedule. They start off strong, despite the amp disruption but quickly devolve into goofing off.
“I was like this is great; I love this song. Then I forgot to play the whole thing,” Megan said.
Matt drags the rehearsal back on track, giving Megan his working amp, and taking a less dysfunctional amp that breathes like a rocket, but otherwise works fine.
“By the end of our Champlain career, all of our amps will have exploded,” Dylan said.
The End Is Near
As they prepare and plan for their final show, the band members all get a little nostalgic.
“We’re gonna get really navel-gazey for one last night and then it’ll be over, at least for a little while,” Dylan said.
This show will capsulize LizRd Women’s entire career at Champlain; they’re going to play all of their songs, even bringing back some of their early work they’ve since ditched, like the parody mash-up “Skins,” and their cover of “Bad Girls” from Bob’s Burgers.
“Even though they don’t have a huge amount of songs, so you always know what they’re going to play, it always changes so much: the way they’re so casual about their performances like you don’t really know what exactly is going to happen, who’s going to go up on stage with them,” said Riley Price, the band’s Merchandise Manager or “Booth Babe”.
According to Dylan, the band wants to change the final show a little, and they’re hoping to do a few new covers like Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.”
“Honestly, I think the Radio Bean will be our last thing… we have our EP coming soon, but we’re all gonna be very busy filmmakers and writers,” Tyler said. “So, I don’t think LizRd Women is going to come back, but I’m always going to listen to our music.”
“Pce Out Burlingtron” will be at Radio Bean in Burlington Wednesday, May 4, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.