L.A. band Grouplove will release their second album, Spreading Rumors, on September 17th. To celebrate the record, the band has something special planned, the "Seesaw Tour," which will kick off September 9th in Seattle.
"We're doing this weird kind of tour, and we're spending two nights in each city," frontman Christian Zucconi tells Rolling Stone. "We're doing one heavy, full-out band rock-out, and the next night is an acoustic show in a non-traditional kind of venue."
The tour will hit 11 cities, playing clubs like the Troubadour in L.A. and the Bowery Ballroom in New York, and then churches, schools and hotels for the second night. "It's basically rooms where touring bands don't go through, so it's kind of a special event," Zucconi says.
For the band, playing two different formats on back-to-back nights will give them a chance to stretch out musically, showcase the new songs and do some covers. It also means they will have to prepare. "We've got to rehearse and figure out what we're gonna do acoustically," says drummer Ryan Rabin.
"'Save the Party' is already kind of an acoustic-driven song, and we've never actually played it live yet." Rabin says. "It's a very slow, kind of pretty song. To make sure that translates – sometimes, even acoustic shows you can't get that full-bodied, pretty song – we're gonna have to figure that out."
Zucconi is also looking forward to the challenge of finding Grouplove's quiet place. "We're going to have to learn to restrain a little bit in our acoustic shows," he says. "With our electric shows, we're all thrashing around. It'd be nice to finally approach some songs to do really beautifully."
Their new hit single, "Ways to Go," finds them branching out instrumentally, with Zucconi putting down his guitar, Rabin playing keys and Andrew Wessen taking over drums. That kind of experimentation is prevalent throughout Spreading Rumors, according to Rabin.
"We love being spontaneous, and we trust that instinct," he says. "There are a lot of cool, spontaneous piano parts because there was a piano in the studio. We prosper a lot when we're on the fly. A lot of our singles have come out that way."
Before Grouplove hit the road in September, they'll play a one-off show August 11th at L.A's Club Nokia with Phoenix and LP as a benefit for the Grammy Foundation. The band has gotten very involved with the organization, having participated two years in a row in Guest Professional Day at the Foundation's Grammy Camp, an annual program for high school kids from across the country.
"I think it's awesome getting in the classroom and communicating like that with students," says Zucconi. "I remember being one myself and thinking it was so cool when you actually get to meet people and ask questions and hear real-life stories, and not read it in a book."
Grouplove tour dates:
9/10 Triple Door, Seattle
9/11 Star Theater, Portland OR
9/12 Alberta Rose Theater, Portland OR
9/13 Crocodile, Seattle
9/14 Independent, San Francisco
9/15 The Chapel, San Francisco
9/17 Troubadour, Los Angeles
9/18 Masonic Lodge, Los Angeles
9/22 Sinclair, Boston
9/23 The Armory, Boston
9/25 Bowery Ballroom, New York
9/26 LPR, New York
9/28 Union Transfer, Philadelphia
9/29 Broad Street Ministry, Philadelphia
10/1 U Street, Washington, D.C.
10/2 The Hamilton, Washington, D.C.
10/9 Lincoln Hall, Chicago
10/10 Space, Chicago