Under-18 band tunes out age

By Obed Manuel
Opinion and Copy Editor

Schmillion, a quintet act based in Austin, headlined the Dentoneer’s March 10 showcase at Denton Square Donuts.

Schmillion’s live set had the grungy quality of garage punk. Zoe Graham and Frankie Blue played the guitar ruthlessly, while the band maintained a catchy beat set by drummer Graham Bailey’s indie pop-oriented style.

Bassist Cecil Blackwood Cross’ duties were more subtle, but did not go unnoticed, as her playing laid a rhythmic order to the songs the group played.

The coziness of Denton Square Donuts amplified the high-tempo and loud instrumentation produced by the group. Unlike some other vocalists at 35 Denton, Natalie Shea’s voice was not drowned out by the sound system. At times her voice overpowered the booming sounds emanating from the speakers.

“[Playing live] feels – I guess, maybe like an escape,” Graham said. “It feels like an explosion of teenage angst.”

Blue said her experience playing live music with Schmillion has been unlike any other.

“I find that I almost have a completely different persona onstage,” Blue said. “A lot of myself [onstage] is me trying to defy gravity and excelling as I play.”

Schmillion’s effective cover of the band TV on the Radio’s song “Wolf Like Me” was a clear display of the group’s talent and potential.

The group had a strong, mature presence as they closed out the showcase.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Schmillion is that none of the members could legally buy alcohol at the venue.

Shea is a freshman in college. The rest of the members are still in high school.

Schmillion has been voted Best Under 18 Band three times in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll since the group formed in late 2009. The band has played the South by Southwest music festival two years in a row and opened for Arcade Fire during the band’s Dallas, Houston and Austin shows in 2011.

Three bands opened for Schmillion at Denton Square Donuts.

Graham said she feels music is something that transcends age. “I feel lucky to go on after bands that have been playing far longer than we have,” Graham said.

Schmillion was previously in Denton for a 2011 Christmas show.

“Everyone in Denton was so nice,” Blue said.

The group is set to release a new album in late April.

“We’re all so excited for the release,” Shea said. “We have other plans – big plans – but we’re focused on the release and our shows for now.”