News Column

Please Please Me brings indie pop sensibility to Donnie's

August 2, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 02--DECATUR -- In the waning days of 2011, The Please, Please Me came together as a band in Austin, Texas.

The indie pop trio wasted absolutely no time, hitting the road and playing show after show, tour after tour. Six months later, they launched a Kickstarter project to raise funding for their debut EP. The band blew past their goal, raising $12,656 only six months after first announcing their presence.

That kind of support is a vote of confidence few can match.

"We definitely harnessed the email list we had put together, but honestly it was largely thanks to all of the people who have supported us in life," said lead singer Jessie Torrisi, who will perform tonight with The Please, Please Me at Donnie's Homespun Pizza in Decatur. "Of course, there were some donations from the United Arab Emirates, one from Santiago, etc. I have no idea how they heard of us, but we're happy to have them."

Torrisi previously lived in New York City, where she played drums in a handful of short-lived rock and punk bands. As a popular session musician she was always being recruited into new bands, but never felt like they provided the proper creative outlet. Writing songs of her own on the side, she eventually found that her assembled collection of music demanded she make a change.

"I was gravitating toward more intimate performances and discovering that different part of myself," she said. "And I knew that if anything was ever going to happen with those songs, I was going to have to do it myself."

And so, the singer moved to Austin, a city known for being a friendlier climate for new bands and musical projects. She traded her drums for the electric guitar as a member of The Please, Please Me and found herself enjoying the performance of her own music for the first time.

"The biggest change was getting up there and being able to unveil my own emotions in my music," Torrisi said. "It sounds weird, but I kind of call them feel-good heartbreak songs. It has definitely become a band with some powerful women's energy."

One thing that immediately sets the band apart from most is its instrumentation. Instead of a typical guitar-drums-bass setup for a three-piece band, backup vocalist Alissa McClure plays cello. Drummer Augustin Frederic, on the other hand, simultaneously plays both drums and glockenspiel, creating a unique indie pop sound.

"He's like an octopus, arms all over the place," Torrisi said. "The rhythm and percussion sections are things that make this band different. I'll always be a drummer at heart as well, so we have songs with places in them that are ideal to stretch out for more drum and percussion breakdowns within a pop song."

All in all, it makes for a set of pop music that offers something of an alternative to the rock and country-heavy lineup of the ongoing Decatur Celebration. Live, Torrisi described the band as "darker and artier," an intimate pop trio that should feel at home on the small Donnie's Homespun Pizza stage.

"When we get into it we're acting out the songs and you can feel the sort of sexual undercurrent to them," she said. "We take the reins off and invite some people up onto stage. We try to make it a memorable experience."

jvorel@herald-review.com|(217) 421-7973

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(c)2013 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.)

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