Not a 'normal' Golden Afternoon

While some bands may say that their image or sound makes them different from others, Golden Afternoon has another idea about what sets them apart.

"We're weird," Elizabeth Messick (vocals) said about her band, four of whose five members are from Huntington Beach.

"We strive to not be normal or conventional," Ashay Shah (drums) continued.

What Messick and Shah mean by "weird" is their quirky on-stage dance moves and the fact that Messick feels so comfortable in front of her bandmates.

"It's cool because we can be weird together," Messick said. "I can burp and fart in front of them, and I don't care."

However, weirdness hasn't stopped this quintet from earning success in just around a year since its formation. Golden Afternoon was nominated for the "Best New Artist" category at the OC Music Awards earlier this year, but lost to Jeramiah Red.

Golden Afternoon did not apply for the OC Music Awards, so when they found out they were nominated, they said they were shocked.

"They just recognized us, which I thought was awesome," Messick said. "A lot of the bands have to sign up to do the live band performance [at the awards], and I didn't want to sign up. I don't really like competition."

"It was a big surprise because we only have three songs recorded," Shah said. "So, they would have had to have seen us live."

The group has also played shows all over Orange County, including a December residency at La Cave in Costa Mesa and a co-headlining show at the House of Blues Anaheim.

"[The House of Blues] was by far our biggest show," Shah said, referring to family, friends and fans they didn't know they had showing up to support them.

Golden Afternoon has been recognized for their cover of "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Videos of the band singing the song at live shows have surfaced on YouTube and Edward Sharpe fan sites.

"We covered that a year ago for our friend John's birthday," Messick said. "We only covered it a couple of times, but [now] I don't like that song at all because we played it so many times then I heard it all over the radio. Most of our covers are requests."

Messick said the band as a whole aims for a Tom Waits-type feel, while she is inspired by the way Ella Fitzgerald sings.

"I think we all have our own influences," Daniel Stonebraker (bass) said. "We all have a vision for the band and are just helping each other get it to where it needs to be. I hear one aspect of the band that I like and try to push that. Scott, Adam and Ashay all hear parts they like."

While some may think their musical differences might cause the band to struggle during the writing process, Messick said otherwise.

"I actually like [our musical differences] better," she said. "I'm like, 'I just want to be weird,' and then Adam will just come up with this cool rhythm that's just perfect."

Despite music being a big part of each band member's life, they are also consumed with school and work. Although they would ideally like music to be their careers, Shah said they have to be realistic.

"I just know how hard it is to actually make it," said Shah, a social work major in the graduate program at USC. "I feel like I have to have a backup."

In the near future, Golden Afternoon plans to release a full debut CD and go on a tour, possibly in San Francisco.

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