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BottleRock 2023: A Sit-Down With The Band High Noon

BottleRock 2023: A Sit-Down With The Band High Noon

We sit down and talk music with one of the top emerging artists in the Bay Area rock scene after their performance at BottleRock 2023. Team


4 min read

May 31, 2023

Hero Image Credit: Braden Tavelli

The Band High Noon, the Bay Area alternative rock band, has been steadily rising in popularity on the local music scene. The quartet, consisting of Ryan Neergaard (vocals), Ian Devereux White (guitar), Brandon Cherry (drums), and Nik Blankenship (bass), was recently tasked with opening BottleRock 2023 at the Truly Stage. Their take on alternative rock resonated with fans, setting the tone for the festival and showcasing why The Band High Noon is a group to look out for.

The group has slowly risen in popularity in the Bay Area, having been noticed by the BottleRock team after a performance at Napa Valley 2 Ukraine, a 2022 benefit show that featured Grammy-Winning Fantastic Negrito and The Stone Foxes to raise awareness and money for Ukraine. THey were invited to the festival as a featured emerging artist. They’re entering the summer having released their debut album Swell, a six-song record led with the single “Dawn” and “Preacher Man,” which has been a successful live track for the band.

Guitarist Ian Devereux White plays guitar on the Truly Stage at BottleRock 2023. Photo Credit: Braden Tavelli.

Ian Devereux White recently sat down with for an intimate Q&A, discussing their BottleRock experience, the band’s sound, and the influence of California on the band’s music and outlook.

The interview has been edited for clarity.

How's your experience playing BottleRock?

White: Just to be up there and see all those people dancing and singing along. That’s something we see a bit of, but looking out in the crowd and seeing a lot of people singing along to our music, It’s kind of like a dream come true. BottleRock feels like a festival of acceptance. There's just this sense of joy out there, and it’s really cool to be in that vibe. We’re a relatively local band. So we see this festival all the time. We’ve had a lot of gigs and we’ve played other festivals, but this one has always been on the list. We’re super grateful to get the opportunity to get out there. We just released our first album, so to have that come out right before this is cool, too.

The thing with festivals is that there are so many people just milling about, hopping from stage to stage to see what’s going on. It’s a much different experience than a traditional show. Do you approach the performance any differently?

White: We were on stage right by the main area, and since we kicked (Friday) off, there’s nobody there. Everybody’s just getting in the front door and they’re buying t-shirts. You know what it’s going to be, so you go into it saying let’s just play this for the joy of music. That’s where this all started. We just started playing together because we love music. So it’s just get up on stage and start playing. I think it was about three songs into our set, I looked up and realized almost the entire area had packed in. That’s when I started seeing faces, people that I didn’t know, that I had never met before, singing along to our songs.

It’s cathartic. It’s beautiful.

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There’s a major sense of familiarity that comes with the music you make. There’s a lot of 90s alternative rock in your sound. What influences the band’s music?

White: There’s clearly a strong 90s rock component to our songwriting. I realized that the familiarity comes from that time. I look at the 90s as a period of rock where it was an incredible time for emotional expression. We come out of this neon stage, great 80s music with crazy sounds and noises and all-electric. Then the 90s throw in some jazz chords, some depth, and some darkness; whether it's Stone Temple Pilots or Nirvana. I think that our influences really come from that time in the 90s when it was all about that emotion.

A hallmark of 90s rock is the reintroduction of the acoustic guitar into a hard rock context. I noticed throughout your music there’s the use of acoustic guitar, which creates a really cool dynamic. Tell me about that choice.

White: It actually began with an acoustic guitar because our songs are collaborative. A lot of the songs start with me coming up with an idea and then bringing it to the band. Then we all build that together. The acoustic guitar is what I have with me when I travel. It’s what I write with. But also, I think about MTV Unplugged. When you think about Alice In Chains or Stone Temple Pilots, I love the electric, but I really love the Unplugged versions. I really felt something that I could connect with. It’s authentic that we began with an acoustic guitar. When I met (Neergard) at a camp, I would pull out my guitar, and he started singing it; he was crushing it. It was that acoustic guitar at that campground that brought us together, so it runs deeps.

The Band High Noon performs at the JaMPad during BottleRock 2023. Photo Credit: Braden Tavelli.

How has growing up in California influenced your music and journey to this point?

White: There are so many bands from there and so much music to listen to. Whether you’re in Oakland in the hip-hop scene, traveling down to L.A. and punk, or a jazz club in San Francisco; there are so many different influences throughout California. 

I mean, Counting Crows got their start in Berkeley. Look at Jack Johnson, he got his start playing in Santa Barbara. Even G Love, though he’s from Philadelphia, made his way to California. No matter where the band is from, they’re rolling through California, so you’re exposed to an incredible amount of music. 

There’s a lot of open-minded people, and in my experience, they like a lot of different music. As you go to different parties, meet different families, you hear new music. You’ve got country stars coming out of Dixon and Sacramento, while you also have surf rock coming out of Huntington Beach. The East Coast is hard, and I respect that. But for me, there’s always a little bit of softness to California, and there’s comfort in that.

What are some of your favorite food spots and venues in California?

White: There’s a lot of food. There’s this great place called Ca'Dario's in Santa Barbara. (In Northern California) there’s also great places. I love Cook (in St. Helena). Those are two great places to eat. In terms of venues, I grew up going to the Great American Music Hall and the Fillmore in San Francisco. For me, that’s like home. When I was a kid, like 6 years old, I snuck backstage with The Band and got a picture wearing the singer’s hat. Now I wear a hat similar to his. It’s also family-owned experiences, restaurants and wineries.

Check out The Band High Noon on their website to listen to Swell and stay up-to-date on upcoming tour dates. For those that love raw emotion, sick riffs, and thoughtful lyricism, The Band High Noon will find a nice spot in your On Repeat playlist.

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