No, Sugar Villain is not some creeped-out, confection-laden bad guy from the newest version of the Candyland board game. It’s Reno-Tahoe’s homegrown power rock trio, and it’s kicking off the summer with a Saturday night show at Nevada Ugly in Gardnerville.
Formed in South Lake Tahoe in 2014 with the name Noise Kings, the group is Brock Thomas (guitar, vocals), Mark Evans (bass), and Jesse Barden (drums). The band recently relocated to the Carson Valley, and switched out its moniker for the enticingly discomfiting Sugar Villain.
“I wasn’t sure about Noise Kings,” Thomas said. “You know, somebody’s going into a bar or a club, and see’s the name, Noise Kings, and thinks ‘huh?’ ”
Fortunately, Thomas already had a suitable replacement stashed away.
“It’s next to impossible to come up with something that isn’t already on the Internet,” he said. “I’ve just had (Sugar Villain) in my back pocket, and when we decided to switch the name I Googled it and was amazed that no one had it, so we used it.”
Labels aside, this group has a single-minded goal: cranking out original power rock for amped-up audiences.
“We do a whole night of original rock and roll; kind of a classic rock kind of a sound I guess. I grew up on classic rock,” Thomas said, describing the band’s sonic range as running from the soft and moody to the aggressive, heaver side.
“If people like rock ‘n’ roll they should be able to walk right in and relate to what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re not doing anything really different here.”
While the group’s original tunes are primarily written by Thomas, Barden and Evans have a central role in arranging and revising the tunes, the guitarist said.
Sugar Villain has been hard at work in its relatively short time together. The band hit the ground running with a series of performances around Lake Tahoe in 2014. The lads also got together to cut a recording, which Thomas describes as more of a demo, available on the group’s website at www.sugarvillain.com.
“We did a little recording down at Play Your Own Music down in Carson City,” he said. “We didn’t spend a lot of time on it, just seven hours in the studio, basically an hour per song.”
The quick completion was sped along with the help of Vince Gates, owner and operator of Play Your Own Music.
“The system that he uses is really painless, you record it and it spits out the product,” Thomas said. “He doesn’t need to do a lot of mastering.
“If you’re ready to play when you go in there it’s a pretty good deal for a young band, I would highly recommend it.”
Now, Sugar Villain is working on booking its summer lineup, while further developing its original repertoire.
“We’re going to be working on doing some more recordings this summer and at adding some more songs to our set list,” Thomas said. “We’re going to be playing around this summer, look for us around town.”
First off is this weekend’s show at Nevada Ugly, a venue that Thomas described as “our home”, although he admitted having something of a dual interest.
“Nevada Ugly is super fun, just a cool place to play and to come hang out down in this area. I also tend bar there, I don’t know if that’s relevant,” he said with a chuckle.
At heart, Thomas and Sugar Villain want to see the Reno-Tahoe area develop a reputation for a wealth of quality bands playing original music.
“I think it’d be really cool to get some people interested in coming out and hearing new original music,” he said. “I wish we had some more bands doing it in the area, we would have a little more of a scene.”
Music to our ears.
- Sugar Villain
When: 9 p.m. Saturday May 30
Where: Nevada Ugly, 1433 U.S. Highway 395, Gardnerville
Tickets: Free show