Behind the main bar of the Thirsty Hippo, the stage room was full of Hattiesburg music lovers who gathered Feb. 1 to listen to The Squid and The Whale play their unique sounds.
“It’s pretty eclectic. I mean, every song we do is just so different, so it’s hard to pin down what it is. It’s very lyrically focused, but it’s got a little more edginess to it,” lyricist and singer of the band Sarah-Bryan Lewis said.
When Lewis began writing over 10 years ago, she had no idea that her words would become the lyrics to Hattiesburg band The Squid and the Whale. Her lyrics have found themselves apart of many different bands and projects, but The Squid and The Whale is the band that has reached the most audiences and gained the most followers.
The band’s website describes the formation of the band as “born out of a free-spirited woman, a charismatic bassist, a Puerto Rican maestro and a good ol’ boy who likes to build stuff.”
With this background in mind, the audience waited for The Squid and The Whale to perform. They were scheduled for 8 p.m., so naturally, Lewis introduced the band at 10:11 p.m. sharp.
The room was quiet as the band started its first song, “Wolves.” Most of the audience probably wasn’t expecting this song to start with spoken word, but the audience remained silent as bassist David Meigs kicked off the set by speaking the lyrics over the crowd.
The band’s set certainly matched their description on their website: “an intersection of art, music and philosophy that engages the senses.”
Meigs said that the music is influenced by all of them and each member brings something new and unique to the creative process. He said that he hopes this provides the audience with different ways to connect to the band’s music.
“I like to feel. I’m a very emotional person. I can pretend like I’m not, but I am. And I want people to be transported from where they are to some memory, to some dream, to some expectation, and I think a lot of our new music is truly cinematic and takes people to a place emotionally that you’re not going to get from the day to day,” Meigs said.
The Squid and the Whale sounds straight off an indie film’s soundtrack, reaching out to the hipster deep inside everyone. While this kind of eclectic music may be an acquired taste, there is no denying the talent of everyone on stage and the creativity that went into creating the band’s music.
The night continued with songs of vast variety and sound, keeping the audience on their toes and listening to the lyrics.
“I’ve always been of this mind. If someone really likes it, that’s amazing. And if someone doesn’t, that’s totally ok,” Lewis said.
“I’ve had some people come up and tell me, ‘This song feels like it’s about this,’ and it’s not. But it’s not my place to tell them that it’s not, because if that’s what it is for them, that’s what makes it special” Lewis said.
To decide for yourself what you think of their music, visit Thesquidandthewhale.com, follow @thesquidandthewhaleband on Instagram or find them on Spotify.