Article by Andrés Alvarado
Ladies and gentlemen, Super Whatevr. No, it’s not a dismissive blurb, but the name of a Californian alt-rock quartet making some pretty significant waves within the music industry. Led by front-man Skyler McKee, Super Whatevr is the spawn of McKee’s affinity for poetry and a desire to further express this thoughts and lyrics in a positive manner; in spite of topic severity. Formally coming together in 2016, Super Whatevr is Skyler McKee on vocals and guitar, Kenzo Cardenas on drums, Nate Wickander on guitar, and Josiah Beason on the bass. Together, this foursome, has progressed from a simple dream, to an ambitious musical project, to a full-fledged band now touring all over the country alongside heavy-hitters like Sum 41 on their Does This Look Infected? 15th Anniversary Tour. Quite the leap, right?
After a 2016 EP that raised some eyebrows, McKee & co. went on to release their official debut LP Never Nothing in early 2018 to positive word of mouth from both critics and fans alike. Brimmed of robust riffs, vigorous vocals, and charged-up cymbals, the anthems on Never Nothing may come across as happy-go-lucky in tonality; however, a significant heavy dose of McKee’s verses tackle topics that are anything but joyous. Therein lies one of the favorable attributes of Super Whatevr! Like folk-punk favorite Frank Turner, these chaps find an uplifting channel by which they open up the floor for subjects considered taboo like mental illness and suicide in a sincere manner. Quotes McKee: “All my songs are happy. They have a sad tone, but it’s all in a positive manner. I want to help people grow and be vulnerable. If it’s got to be dark, then it’s going to dark. It doesn’t hurt me, because I know it’s going to help me grow and help other people grow.” There’s a bravery to McKee’s methods, it might not be the cure to all the heavy issues touched on, but it most definitely helps listeners understand we are all human, we all hurt, we have much in common, and there’s no shame in talking about our everyday problems.
As musicians and performers, Super Whatevr must also possess a stout stage presence in order to grow their fan base. We had the chance to witness their live act as they passed through Atlanta’s Buckhead Theatre supporting Sum 41 on their aforementioned journey. On the dais, the S.W. gang is playful, yet forceful. They’re inclined to chatter up the crowd with the stories behind their sound; this boosts the band’s likability. However, once the chat ceases, the banging tunes begin, and here is where the band shines brightest. Whether it’s the rock-star mannerisms, the high jumps, or requesting sing-alongs from their onlookers, the McKee-led bunch efficiently fill their time in the limelight. By the time the lads walk-off, it’s common place, as onlookers, to have their sound produce a lasting buzzing effect in us.
So, listen, up-and-comers are a dime a dozen, except every now and then, a group comes along that inspires us a little more. A band that brings about a powerful message and catchy hooks. Alas, if you’re an audiophile or just someone looking for fresh thumpers to update their spotify, give Super Whatevr a chance. They might just snatch up your undivided attention. At least, that’s our guess. Cheers!