The Union Street fire affected many bands who played at The Union Bar & Grill, but not as much as Blond. Their last two performances at The Union took place the night of fire, and then at the bar’s reopening.
“The night (The Union) burned down, (Blond) played, and they lost gear in the fire,” Scott Winland, the talent promoter at The Union, said. “We were able to salvage some of it, so they got some of it repaired. … They’ll (sometimes) play guitars with burn marks all over them.”
Blond is returning to The Union stage again Friday. Worn Flints will open for Blond at The Union at 9 p.m. with a $5 cover charge.
Blond is a five-piece band that started playing together nearly four years ago.
“(Blond’s) gone through a series of evolutions like any band,” Conor Stratton, a lead guitarist for Blond, said. “We’ve been a more active band like two years ago, when we started touring and playing a lot around the East Coast and regionally.”
Stratton and Jamie Scott, the singer of the band, previously played together in a band started in their hometown of Yellow Springs with Rory Papania, the second guitarist. After moving to Athens, Scott and Stratton started putting together Blond.
“When Lou Reed died, we threw a tribute show together, and I booked (Blond) to play and they just killed it,” Winland said. “I’ve loved that band ever since.”
Winland taught Stratton at Hocking College and was very supportive of the band and its development, Stratton said.
Before the fire, Blond had found a home in The Union, and after, it seemed “very strange.”
“They became a staple. They played at least once a month,” Winland said. “It was really sad for those guys too. This had just become their home base.”
The members of Blond describe themselves as psychedelic rock combined with indie pop and folk, and Winland said the band sounds like they take influence from music of years past. Blond plays original music, written by Scott.
“(The Union) was our favorite place to be and where we were most comfortable,” Stratton said. “But the new Union is a fantastic spot and, in a lot of ways, improved.”
Stratton said it’s been about a year since they played at The Union. After some members of the band moved to different areas, the band took a break.
“It was kind of tough to figure out how we could keep this alive,” Stratton said. “There was a big memorial show for Haden DeRoberts in Columbus, and we figured out a way to get it together.”
Henry Allen, who plays in Stratton’s other band, Crooked Spines, has taken over drumming for Blond, and “it’s been working and sounding really great.”
“So the (bands from) Yellow Springs, what they have in common is they’re some of the best new bands that I’ve seen in a couple of years at least,” Winland said. “Sometimes a particular scene will get stale, and these guys were clearly well rehearsed always, and that’s awesome to see.”
Stratton said the band puts a lot of energy in preparing for live shows to make them fun and exciting and works to make sure the bands that play with Blond are quality.
Worn Flints is a three-piece band from Columbus, and recently was included in Alabama Shakes’ tour after impressing them while performing at Express Live.
“(Worn Flints) are really entertaining to watch and high energy,” Stratton said. “It’s cool to see this greater Ohio community of musicians and bands connecting and working together to get out there.”
Winland said he’s excited to have Blond back playing The Union, as he’s always been impressed with the band.
“We hope to see everybody out and we look forward to playing back at home base,” Stratton said. “We’re really excited to come back.”