Only about three months ago, the members of Plymouth’s The Great Ak – including Alex Boris, Jon King, Tom Wight, Joe Umano and Jason Andrews – played their first show at Michael’s on Court Street during an open-mic night.
For many of the band’s members, it was their first time performing in front of an audience. Wight said stage fright hit many of them hard, as his hands were sweaty on the microphone while other members of his group struggled to make eye contact with the crowd.
However, when they finished performing their five songs, the audience responded positively. Bass player Andrews said that moment was a turning point for The Great Ak.
“That was the initial boost of confidence we needed,” he said.
Since then, the Plymouth band has been working to perfect their original music, practicing twice per week and scheduling as many performances as possible in places like and the .
While many listeners classify The Great Ak’s music as indie, lead singer Wight thinks this genre is much too vague. The music his band creates is more diverse, incorporating elements from many different styles.
“Some of it is kind of bluesy, some of it is very mellow acoustic stuff, but we try to find some type of middle ground just to blend the two together a little bit so it has a nice flow to it,” Wight said.
Wight and his band members, including guitar player Umano, believe that one of the group’s biggest advantages is that their original music does not sound like most of what is created in the area.
“The Plymouth scene has a lot of blues bands, acoustic rock bands and metal bands,” Umano said. “We are more like an indie band and a little different from everyone else.”
Although performers who sing cover songs tend to find more work at the bars and restaurants in the area, all the members of the band agreed that playing covers is simply not the direction they will take. Instead, they will remain a group that concentrates on its original tracks.
“Covers are a dangerous path,” said guitar player King. “So many bands start out and say they are just going to do covers for now. That almost never happens. We should be performing more covers. That is a fact. But the originals we are writing are really, really good. I can’t not have us perform originals.”
As the members of The Great Ak continue performing and showcasing their original music, they said they have seen a significant amount of improvement since their first show at Michael’s only months ago.
“The music sounds better than it did during the first show and we are a lot more comfortable playing together than we were during the first show,” Andrews said.
In the future, the band hopes to record an album. Since they are still trying to master their songs, drummer Boris said he is in no rush to go to the studio. However, he does not think it will be long until his group is ready to take this step.
“We are pretty much there,” he said. “We need to free up our schedules a little bit and just do it.”