The Stews dish on their Druid City show and fear of dying with regret

Augustus Barnette , Staff Reporter

Among being trapped with snakes or stuck in a sinking boat, members of the Auburn-founded, Charleston-based band The Stews said dying with regret is one of their biggest fears; but they have nothing to regret after their show at Druid City Music Hall on Sept. 23.  

Consistently, multiple students referred to the night, and The Stews, as electric, and that’s an accurate description of the venue on Friday night.  

The Stews are made up of front man Preston Hall, guitarist Blake Dobbs, bassist Bennett Baugus and drummer Wyatt Griffith. Hovering right around the band’s two-year anniversary, The Stews returned to Tuscaloosa, which holds some sentimentality for the band.  

“We kind of started coming around here a lot when we first started playing. This was the first place we got paid a good amount of money to play, so we started playing here a bunch,” Hall said. 

Hall said when they first came to Tuscaloosa a couple of years ago, they accidentally put “Druid City” in their GPS and were taken to Druid City Music Hall. The band hoped that one day they would perform at the venue, which has finally come true. 

Griffith said that although the band just released their debut album “What Was” this year, and their free time on the road is spent on the Xbox, new material is not out of the question.  

“We’re touring all over and playing all the songs from the album and the previous music, but we’re always writing, always trying to get in the studio,” Griffith said. 

Even though The Stews have seen a burst in popularity, they remain an indie band and are enjoying the upsides of their newfound fame. 

“The thing about being an independent band is you have no timeline. No one’s got a gun to your head saying you have to release music, and so it’s kind of just to open discussion work in progress,” Griffith said.  

As if hosting an Auburn-founded band was not enough, the whole ticket seemed ironic, as opening band The Mammoths hail from Austin, home of The University of Texas, who gave the Alabama football team a run for their money a few weeks ago.  

Despite claiming to “Get real Satan-y,” the Mammoths set the tone for the night with their self-described “sophisticated blues-funk,” which featured some heavy moments, long instrumentals, slower jamming and even some calls to action for audience participation.  

Although “horns down” hand gestures were thrown around during the opener, animosity was low. Perhaps as a peace offering, Mammoths front man David Kapsner wore an Alabama jersey during the show, and even shouted a “Roll Tide.”  

Following the Mammoths was the local band The Wheelers, who fit into the ticket effortlessly.  

Taking the stage nearly half an hour behind schedule, The Stews walked out, and the audience was ready. What already appeared to be a happy crowd collected even more smiles, and it stayed that way for the whole hour-and-a-half-long set.  

Consisting of about a 17 song setlist, The Stews’ own discography is only 15 songs, which add up to about an hour. Their setlist was supplemented by covers of “Money” and “Breathe (In the Air)” by Pink Floyd and a cover of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath as their pre-encore finale.  

With this, it’s obvious The Stews’ live songs are more drawn out than the studio recordings, but it does not get old, and the crowd agrees.   

“The energy comes directly from the guys on stage, which then translates to the experience of everyone in the venue. It was so much fun to watch guys that love playing music bring that kind of energy to their concert,” said Garland Brazil, a sophomore majoring in marketing. “I first heard them at a fraternity party which piqued my interest. I have listened to their music ever since.”  

Stetson Ponder, a junior majoring in finance, has also been listening to The Stews since they played at his fraternity’s band party last winter.  

“I think that they do a really good job of mixing genres; they’re kind of jam band, they’re rock, I just think they do a really good job of mixing that. Besides that, they just put on a really good performance,” Ponder said.  

Luke Mandola, a sophomore majoring in finance, also learned of The Stews from a fraternity band party last fall.  

“Anytime, anywhere, anyplace, 24/7, 365 days a year, The Stews kick *ss,” Mandola said. “They’ll get here, they’ll start playing music, it just brings the mood out of everyone.” 

While The Stews seemed to grab the attention of Greek life on campus, anyone with the chance of seeing the band should consider checking it out.  

Albeit to the dismay of some other members of The Stews, Hall left The Crimson White with two final words: “Roll Tide.”