Veda and Underoath are Sacred and Sober at the Bren

Complete with enough head-banging and back-breaking guitar lashes to make a chiropractor salivate at the mouth, supporting bands Underoath and Veda opened for Thrice at the Bren Events Center on Oct. 7.
The first performance of the night was by indie rockers Veda. Though not quite as intense as headliners Thrice and the rest of the night’s lineup, Veda’s contradictory dark yet bright melodies were well received by the sold-out Bren Events Center crowd.
After being inspired by the 1991 hit movie ‘My Girl,’ Kristen May felt a loose relation with the leading heroine, Vada Sultenfuss, and borrowed the name a year-and-a-half ago to form the current four-piece band, Veda.
‘Veda also means ‘sacred writing’ in Hindi,’ explained guitarist Brian Andrew Little. ‘It envelopes what we do as well. In a sense we would like our music to be something sacred to our fans.’
Nowadays it’s hard to find a female leading vocalist backed by a bunch of men who can retain a willowy yet strong sound.
With their roots in Kansas City, Mo., guitarist Brian Little and leading vocals and guitarist Kristen May had previously worked together in another band with her older brothers.
When things didn’t quite work out for that group, May and Little stuck together and were determined to collaborate with each other musically.
Veda was complete when joined by Little’s friend Jason Douglas on bass followed by Little’s younger brother, Drew Little, on drums.
Due to scheduling conflicts, 17-year-old Drew Little, stayed behind in Kansas City to finish up his senior year in high school.
‘I’m kind of sad that Drew couldn’t join us, because with him, we are the band. For this tour, until May 2006, we have a temporary drummer, but it feels just as good,’ Little said.
After being an official band for a little less than two years, Veda released their first album, ‘The Weight of an Empty Room.’
The title of their first full-length album, ‘The Weight of an Empty Room,’ sounds like one of those riddles you would think about endlessly as a kid, but Veda doesn’t try to pose behind some bullshit veil of mystery.
‘We’re about being ourselves. ‘The Weight of an Empty Room’ is kind of just like that. It is how you carry yourself into an empty room or into a room as though there were people in it,’ Little said. ‘It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s just about being yourself and who you are no matter what.’
Kristen May may not have screamed her lungs out during Veda’s performance, but Veda still has a genuine sound that was obviously good enough to have them open up alongside well-established hardcore bands such as Underoath.
I had the privilege of chatting with Spencer Chamberlain, vocalist for the screamo-Christian band Underoath, just after he and his bandmates had rushed to the Bren Events Center from a successful in-store appearance at the Tower Records in Brea.
A famished Chamberlain graciously spared a few moments with me while taking a few bites out of his bologna-and-mayonnaise sandwich in order to discuss this recent tour with Thrice.
‘This is our fourth day of the tour with Thrice. It has been beyond anything we could have ever expected. Kids have been crazy and there have just been more and more of them. Just every day is insane,’ Chamberlain exclaimed.
While most members of Underoath choose to abstain from the usual rockstar amenities of booze and cigarettes, Underoath doesn’t label themselves to be straight-edge.
‘There’s nothing we’re specifically about,’ Chamberlain said.
Playing at the Bren Events Center is a major and unique venue to play at for many musicians since it is located on our musically inclined campus of UC Irvine and home to our lovely mascot, Peter the Anteater.
‘I caught onto that. I saw a bronze anteater statue and I was like ‘what? why is there an anteater?” (pointing to the Bren) ‘And then I saw another one when I went into there to get food somewhere. Then I figured it had something to do with this college. They [anteaters] are probably the funniest looking things in the world, to have a mascot of,’ Chamberlain replied.
Besides proving their abilitiy to hold the attention of the Bren Events audience, Veda and Underoath both share another aspect in common. They hate taking breaks.
‘We don’t like having a lot of downtime. We really don’t know what to do,’ Little said.
Fellow workaholic Chamberlain also admitted that having breaks weren’t the best for Underoath as well.
‘We suck after a day off. We’re really sluggish and out of shape just from resting. We’re better when we don’t have breaks,’ Chamberlain said.
Regardless, Underoath and Veda managed to keep fans at the Bren pumped throughout the rest of the night.