Band hopes spontaneous style will launch career

Liz Geiman

The spontaneity of a live show is exactly what musician Dax Penick enjoys about performing.

At Tidball’s on Friday night, spontaneity wasn’t in short supply. Penick, 33, and his self-titled band, Dax, were thrown a curveball when local band, The Fair Weather Kings, backed out of the set Dax was supposed to open. Penick’s band became the headliner.

“It’s all these little wild cards,” he said.

Previously a solo artist, Penick was performing small shows an hour away from his hometown in southeastern Indiana and sending out hundreds of samples of his work.

In 2010, he decided to move to Nashville to further pursue his career in music.

“It’s like deep-sea fishing from Kansas,” said Penick of his career in Indiana.

Upon moving to Music City, he discovered that Nashville is to musicians as college is to students.

“Everyone tries to make it here,” he said.

Despite feeling like one of many aspiring musicians, the move allowed him to get in touch with his roots more than being in Indiana. He said more people recognize his music, which he described as something different from music that is typically produced in Nashville.

“It’s the poppy versions of the metal parts of Metallica,” Penick said.

Those who recognize Dax’s music are not limited to the city, however. WKU alum Sarah Becker said she connected with the honest, unrefined sound of his music.

“He had a lot of soul in his voice and performance and projected boldly,” she said.

Dax also boasts fans from as far as the Philippines, France — in a city called Dax, coincidentally — and other parts of the world.

“I’m not really sure how they find the music,” he said.

If asked to play in any of the countries where he’s gaining a fan base, Penick said he would take the opportunity immediately.

Touring worldwide would call for Penick to travel with his newly formed band. Comprised of a bass guitar, piano and drums, the sound of the band helps to create the “live and raw” sound that Penick wants his audience to experience.

Although some of the crowd at Tidball’s enjoyed Dax’s unexpected performance, New Castle senior Nolan DeBurger wasn’t entirely impressed.

“The band was talented, but didn’t seem into the performance,” DeBurger said.

Dax pulled a wild card at the end of their show when the pianist began tinkering Pearl Jam and Elton John. Other band mates packed up their instruments while Penick, at the request of an audience member, read the lyrics of “Rocket Man” from his iPhone.

The unrefined talent of the band may propel the group into what Penick hopes will be a move forward, but for now they’ll continue with their specialty of live and raw spontaneity.