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Abby Normal Reunites At Velour

Pop Punk group Abby Normal is set to reunite tonight at Velour Live Music Gallery.

By Zach Collier

Those familiar with the Provo music scene most likely know Chance Lewis. The resident sound man at Velour Live Music Gallery, he’s made a name for himself as both a producer and MC in the local hip-hop scene. Alongside local rapper Adam Hochhalter (AKA Apt), he co-founded the hip-hop collective House of Lewis in 2010. [1] Lewis released his self produced album, We’re Just Happy To Be Here, in 2012. The collective performed alongside Mimi Knowles and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop at the August 2014 Rooftop Concert Series,[2] and in 2015, House of Lewis won Best Rap Group in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Music Awards. This led to their performance in Salt Lake City’s Twilight Concert Series that year. [3]

Since their formation, Lewis has produced both of Apt’s albums (Do Yourself In and Almost), a few tracks off of Donnie Bonelli’s 2013 album Shakeface, and some tracks for Na-G. He’s currently producing albums for both Donnie Bonelli and Rhyme Time (aka Atheist).

While people may be aware of his recent rap exploits, Provo newcomers may not be aware that Chance Lewis was once a local pop-punk darling. A multi-instrumentalist, Lewis plays guitar, bass, and keys. As a singer, he lent his vocals to various pop punk and indie rock bands in the valley prior to 2010. One of those bands was Abby Normal.

Lewis started Abby Normal back in 2004. “The original name of the band was ‘The Chance Lewis Project,’ which was supposed to be a satire of all of the singer/songwriter groups at BYU at the time. One of the biggest bands in Provo in 2004 was The Matt Lewis Band,” he says. “It was originally an outlet for my solo stuff but eventually turned into more of a band, so we changed the name to Abby Normal.” After several changes, the band’s lineup solidified, with Lewis on vocals and guitar, Dan Leach on bass, and Aaron Davis on drums.

In 2005 the band released an EP entitled One Man Freak Show. They uploaded a few more recordings to Myspace in 2007, but, according to Lewis, they “never really put them out in a proper release.” In commemoration of the band’s reunion, Abby Normal is officially releasing those recordings on an album tonight. The album, The Future Repeats Itself, will also be available on iTunes along with a few bonus tracks. “It has been fun re-learning our songs and getting pumped for Thursday’s show. We stopped actively playing in 2008 but I think we’ve done one or two reunion shows since then, not including this one.”

When asked why the band split up, Lewis said: “We stopped playing together on pretty good terms so we’re all still pretty good friends. I just kinda lost interest in it and started pursuing solo stuff, which led to the formation of my hip-hop group, House of Lewis.” Lewis says the hardest part about preparing for the show has been getting callouses back on his fingers. “I play music every single day. I produce music full-time. But most if it is playing keyboard or doing hip hop stuff, so I only play guitar once a week or so and it’s not for very long.”

The band has been practicing at Scott Miller’s house. Miller was in Return to Sender with Kyler Fillerup and Chad Reynolds of The Love§trange. They recently played a reunion show at Velour as well (read Reynolds’ thoughts on it here).

“[Practicing there] has been a whole 2006 throwback in itself,” says Lewis. “I’m actually surprised how fast we relearned our songs considering we haven’t played them in like 8 years. Our drummer, Aaron, said he plays drum set maybe once or twice a year now. So what’s really amazing to me is that he can still shred on drums and do all of that fast NOFX-style double time stuff. It’s like he didn’t lose any of that muscle memory. He still looks, talks, acts, and plays exactly like he did in 2008, which is just amazing on so many levels.”

Abby Normal will be performing tonight with A Film In The Ballroom, Broke City, and Al Deans of Quasi Stellar Radio. “Back in 2006 Broke City used to pack Velour. Their singer, Joel Pack, recorded most of our Abby Normal songs and pretty much taught me how to be in a band/how to record. When Corey Fox asked me who I wanted to do a reunion show with, AFITB and Broke City were my first choices.”

Come see these bands reunite tonight, February 18th at Velour Live Music Gallery. Tickets are $8 dollars in advance, $10 at the door (cash only). Listen to “Poor Us” by Abby Normal below.

[1] “Chance Lewis.” Thehouseoflewis.com. The House of Lewis, n.d. Web.
[2] “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – Mimi Knowles – House of Lewis.” Rooftop Concert Series. Rooftop Concert Series, 1 Aug. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
[3] Stonehocker, Kolbie. “Best of Utah Music 2015 Winners.” Salt Lake City Weekly. Salt Lake City Weekly, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

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