Local band plays at Bluemont Hotel, pays tribute to inspirations

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Image courtesy of Betty the Astronaut on Facebook

Inspired by the Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball and Say Anything, local band Betty the Astronaut will play at 8:30 p.m. on Friday Nov. 9 at the Bluemont Hotel.

Steve Keck, lead vocalist, said the hotel has treated the band well in the past, and they’ve played at the hotel 10 times. Typically, the band does one-hour sets of their original music.

“It’s tough to describe our style,” Keck said. “To put it as simply as I can, it’s upbeat acoustic punk folk fun rock. Our lyrics are almost humorous. By that I mean that it’s almost conscious streaming thought without metaphors.”

Keck and Spencer McConaghy have played together since 2012. Keck does most of the songwriting and lead vocals while McConaghy plays guitar and does some back up vocals.

“We mainly play acoustic guitar,” Keck said. “However, Spencer sometimes plays the electric guitar. We also have other people play instruments in some of our sets.”

Keck has enjoyed music from a young age and learned to play the guitar by listening to the album “Deja Entendu” by Brand New, an American rock band.

“When I was younger, I thought playing the guitar was only something that famous people could do,” Keck said. “Then my friends in high school said they wanted to make a band, and I told them I wanted to be a part of it. I learned how to play bass in a month for the band.”

Keck and McConaghy were inspired for their band name by the “Deja Entendu” album cover, which featured an astronaut. “Betty” is from two different songs: “Betty is a Bombshell” by Grouplove and a song from Motion City Soundtrack that Keck cannot remember the name of.

“We wanted a name that sounded upbeat, as well as upbeat lyrics,” Keck said. “I write most of my songs based on early Modern Baseball. The band was really inspirational for me.”

Altogether, Betty the Astronaut has 11 original songs, five of which are available to stream online. The band’s music can be found on Spotify, Bandcamp and YouTube.

“We released five songs on our EP album,” Keck said. “It’s good to have some songs that aren’t available so when we play the crowd can hear something different.”

Betty the Astronaut plays at house parties, Annie Mae’s Parlor and the Bluemont Hotel. Once, Keck said, they performed in Topeka which gave them exposure to new crowds. Performing is something Keck said he loves to get feedback from.

“I love getting people involved, even if it means they are only listening intently,” Keck said. “It’s definitely my favorite when people sing along. Anytime that people are listening to me, I love it.”

On Friday, Nov. 9, Betty the Astronaut will perform their original work as well as covers of songs from bands that inspire their music.

“I play covers from bands that inspired me to pay tribute to them,” Keck said.

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I’m Bailey Britton, a freshman from Colby, KS. I am double majoring in print journalism and secondary education with a focus in English and journalism. This semester I am of the assistant news editors. Writing and reading have always been passions of mine. When I have free time, I like to play tennis and be active or curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee.