Power trio Civil Twilight started off in South Africa, but the indie rockers now are making their mark in America.
Last week, the band’s emotive video, “Letters From the Sky,” was MTV’s most-played clip. To add to the buzz, Civil Twilight will open for Neon Trees at the Bluebird Theater in Denver on Wednesday as part of the kickoff party for the Denver Post’s Underground Music Showcase.
What: Underground Music Showcase Kickoff Party, featuring Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, Paper Tongues and Pacific Hurt
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, Denver
If you like your indie music filtered through a pop lens, this is the double-bill for you.
Brothers Steven and Andrew McKellar form the nucleus of Civil Twilight. The siblings were raised in Cape Town, South Africa, and came from a very musical family.
“Our mom played piano and she was a singer,” vocalist/bassist Steven McKellar said. “Our dad had a great appreciation of music and he had a big selection of albums.
“My brother and I were influenced by alternative and indie-rock music. Bands like Nirvana, the Pixies and Silverchair — bands that were harder and heavier really influenced us.”
McKellar said Civil Twilight’s music is still a work in progress.
“We’re still developing very quickly as a band,” McKellar said. “We have a lot of interesting and intense soundscapes, and our lyrics always question life. I drew my inspiration from the natural beauty of our home country.
“Death is one theme that runs through a lot of our songs. The songs may display the perils of life, but we always offer a glimpse of hope. That just adds for a dramatic experience.”
Civil Twilight relocated to the U.S. in 2005 and the moved paid off.
The band’s music has been used on TV shows such as “One Tree Hill” and “House,” and now “Letters From The Sky” is taking off on top video channels.
“Our music has been used on quite a few American TV shows,” McKellar said. “The most interesting place we saw it was on an episode of ‘Celebrity Rehab.’ That was strange, but the episode fit with our music.
“Being on those shows is a good way to get our music out there. We’ve also been getting played on MTV and VH1, and that’s been helpful.”
Bands can make great records, but the proof is always in the live show.
McKellar promises that fans won’t easily forget a Civil Twilight concert.
“Our live show is very dynamic,” McKellar said. “You can expect a musical roller coaster ride. You have to pay attention to the music, but you will be rewarded.”
Be sure to stick around for headlining act Neon Trees. The band’s hot single “Animal” is a very catchy mix of classic ’80s and contemporary sounds — though lead singer Tyler Glenn could lose the retro combover look.