Local band Conditions will be playing its final show Saturday, June 7th at the National. As all members are originally from the Richmond area, saying farewell at this hometown venue is only fitting.
Local band Conditions will be playing its final show Saturday, June 7th at the National. As all members are originally from the Richmond area, saying farewell at this hometown venue is only fitting. Any and all members of the community can appreciate what they’ve accomplished while representing Richmond rock music in a positive, influential, and creative light.
Before the group came together, each of its members had previously been in other bands as high school students. When they eventually fell away from each of these bands, they came together naturally to form Conditions. “At the time we joked about being a super-group amongst the Richmond punk [or] pop punk scene,” says the band’s guitarist, Alex Howard. And a Richmond supergroup is what they became from the very start.
The band released their first batch of their recorded material in 2006, and soon afterwards, received the amazing opportunity to play Warped Tour. It was their fans that got them there. “There’s an online voting thing where you submit to play your local stop, which is Virginia Beach, and we won,” says Howard. “From there, [we] kept being entered into these contests amongst local winners and kept getting through. [Eventually] we won the whole Warped Tour thing, and then we got flown out to play the showcase in LA for all the finalists… After that, when we were signed and had a record out, they knew who we were and had us back. So it really started as being the local band, and we kind of made our way through to being, I guess, one of the regular bands on it.” In light of this experience, Howard advises any local group trying to make it big to put the music first, and have a solid set of permanent material before worrying about getting a manager or booking agent.
Signing with Good Fight records in 2010, Conditions released two albums, Fluorescent Youth (2010) and Full Of War (2013) on the label. Now, on the occasion of their breakup, Good Fight has released one final album for the band. Missing Hours, which was released earlier this week, is an odds-and-ends compilation that brings together three new Conditions songs with covers of tunes by U2, The Killers, and The Goo Goo Dolls, as well as a set of older Conditions material redone as acoustic tracks, and even a remix. Check it out below, and look for copies at the Conditions merch table on Saturday.
The fact that Conditions is a local band that made it big isn’t the only thing they have to offer to make Richmonders proud. This band is not only conscientious about the musicality of its songs, but about what its lyrics are saying as well. Instead of reverting to common themes of sex, money, drugs, and partying, Conditions takes a different route. “[Our lyrics are] more just talking about life and going through it, learning your way through, and kind of picking you back up,” Howard says. “I want people to turn to that if they’re having a tough time, and help them get through a tough time in their life.” Howard and the rest of Conditions hopes this emphasis in their lyrics will make a lasting impact on their fans and the community around them, even after they’ve broken up.
As with any group of people working together, Conditions had its ups and downs. One of Howard’s favorite moments was playing the Soundwave music festival in Australia. He modestly stated that he wasn’t sure how the band “managed to get invited to it,” and that it was one of the times that he “felt like a rockstar” due to the stellar treatment that was provided for the bands. This included transportation and the “financial aspects,” which in other times were a down side of being in the band. When trying to tour and split about 200 dollars a night amongst five to seven people and their related expenses, it could be stretched incredibly thin. However, he says, “for a long time, the shows just made it worth it. You go through a lot of crap [to] get to the show, and [then] you have a really good show and that kinda brings your spirit back. But I think there’s only so long you can do that before the realities of everyday life kinda creep up on you and you kind of have to make the tough decision,” says Howard.
Conditions at the Canal Club, 2010. Photo by Matt Szymanski
Conditions not only took an honorable and mature approach to being a band during their career, but in the way they ended it as well. Instead of waiting until they were at each other’s throats due to the natural hardships that went along with being in a band, the members of Conditions decided to end things on a good note. After having a great tour in 2013 with the band You Me at Six, and not being as excited as usual at the end of it, the band knew a decision had to be made. “We were all just burnt out collectively, and decided before we started hating it, or hating each other, that it’d probably be smart for us to just hang it up,” Howard says.
Although the band will be missed, they won’t be gone from the minds of their fans. So whether you’re a longtime fan that’s been seeing them around town for most of the past decade, or if you’re just into supporting a local group with positive messages and catchy music, Conditions’ final show at the National is one you definitely should not miss.
Conditons will perform along with A Loss For Words and Alive In Standby on Saturday, June 7 (tomorrow night!) at The National. Tickets are $15 in advance, and can be ordered HERE. Read our interview with Conditions from the Spring 2011 issue of RVA Magazine HERE.