If you don’t read the fine print, it may seem like tonight’s show at the Wayfarer is co-headlined by three entirely different bands. Rare Futures, FutureCastle, and Gavin Castleton are all listed in big bold print, but fans hoping for a three-headed monster of set after set might be a little confused when all of those names appear on stage at the same time.
“It’s a two-for-one deal where instead of being the traditional co-headlining tour where Rare Futures and Gavin Castleton do sets that are butt-to-butt, we do one big mega-set,” says Matt Fazzi, the creative force behind Rare Futures. “We were inspired by the DVD Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago did where they mashed both the bands together and everyone played on the hits and re-interpreted things a little differently. You get this musical Voltron of two bands smashed together into one.”
But while some artists might struggle with performing not only their own material but also that of another band, it’s pretty much exactly what Fazzi’s made a living on. Having previously worked with bands like Taking Back Sunday and Atlas Genius, the songwriter’s lifelong musical journey has prepared him to be particularly qualified to jam out a few bands’ discographies on the same night. For that matter, Fazzi doesn’t just enjoy the challenge of picking up new material, but he also likes taking it a step further.
“It’s actually something I do fairly regularly as a touring musician for other bands,” Fazzi says. “That’s a hat I put on very often, so learning a few extra songs was cake for me. It’s a lot of fun because not only do I love the challenge of learning other bands’ material and getting inside of it, but also bringing it to life in a way where I can sprinkle a little bit of my flavor on it too.”
Rather than solely focusing on the two artists’ separate works, Fazzi teamed up with Castleton for some music all their own specifically as FutureCastle. By putting the time into creating a joint project, both halves of the act are fully committed to making sure the party on the Wayfarer’s stage tonight is as seamless as it is groovy. While some combinations and mash-ups might come off as an awkward juxtaposition of talent, Fazzi and Castleton aren’t trying to do a Jay-Z and Linkin Park-style half-hearted money grab.
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“The biggest challenge was finding a way for the two bands to feel like one,” Fazzi says. “We had to find that synergy where the energy of all the songs is in the right place but it doesn’t feel like two separate bands. That way we can segue between my songs and Gavin’s songs and it doesn’t have to be so one-for-one or a block of his songs and then a block of mine. The trick was marrying the two and making it feel like one cohesive unit.”
Along with his passion for the FutureCastle tour dates, Fazzi’s main goal at this point is to get Rare Futures big enough to be his full-time act. Although he doesn’t mind performing as a touring musician for other bands, there’s nothing quite like playing his own songs rather than being a talented supporting figure. After dropping last year’s This is Your Brain on Love — an album Fazzi sat on for nearly two years and wasn’t sure he’d ever release — and promoting his latest collaboration and tour by enlisting talented local bands like Devil Season as opening acts, Rare Futures is slowly growing into a project important enough to pay the musician’s bills on a regular basis.
“It’s always really rewarding just because it’s my little baby and I don’t get to do it often enough yet,” Fazzi says. “That’s the balance I’ve been striking in the last few years is finding the right opportunities that are really great as a hired musician, and then on the other side of the coin growing my own band into a place where it could be self-sustaining. Hopefully one day it’ll be a full-time thing where I can dedicate all of my energy into it, because there’s so much happening with touring and everything.”
Rare Futures, FutureCastle, Gavin Castleton, Devil Season, and Flying Hand are at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa tonight, June 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $8 and are available here.