The Daily Gamecock

We the Kings

Fresh off her first final, singer/songwriter Haley Dreis opened to 275 students for We the Kings in the Russell House Ballroom Wednesday night. Dreis’s band booked the gig as a prize for winning USC’s Battle of the Bands last year.

“It was crazy because we had never played full-band before that specific show, and we were just overwhelmed and shocked in a good way to have this opportunity,” said the third-year music student.

Students poured into the ballroom to watch We the Kings.

“I love them — the lead singer, I love him,” said third-year anthropology student Keely Lewis.

Travis Clark, the lead singer for We the Kings, won the crowd with some tiger-bashing, claiming in jest that the band ran over a Clemson tiger on the way to Columbia.

The band’s latest music video, “We’ll Be A Dream” featuring Demi Lovato, premieres today on MTV, and Clark announced that his mom will be getting a check mark tattooed on her behind as part of a bet they made years ago.

“When I started the band, I told my mom if we ever got on MTV she’d have to get a tattoo,” Clark said to the crowd.

Clark told The Daily Gamecock his favorite parts of his stay in Columbia included his love of the people and southern home cooking. He said the band really wants to come back and that Carolina girls are the most attractive. 

The band’s tour accountant and merchandise manager Chris Varvaro described how he met the band, and gave some insight into the life of a touring band.

“I met them while I was working for another band,” Varvaro said. “I was working for a band called Metro Station, we shared a bus with We The Kings and that’s how I became friends with them ... I’ve been touring with We The Kings for two years — two glorious years.”

Varvaro has been touring with bands including Taking Back Sunday, Days Away, The Academy Is, Hellogoodbye and Cute is What We Aim For for seven years. Last year alone he estimates they were on the road for 316 days.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s an every day thing,” Varvaro said. “It’s like people think we go somewhere, and we stay there for a little bit, but we’re mostly in each city for 20 hours.”
Before last night’s show the band was in Raleigh, N.C. 

“We got here about 11,” Varvaro said. “The band didn’t get here until like six tonight. Travis and Hunter (Thomsen) had a show somewhere in North Carolina this morning, like a radio show, so they rode with our Radio rep., Brad Davidson, to Columbia.”

Though most students came out to see We the Kings several showed up to show support for Dreis, and Varvaro offered his opinion on Dreis’s music.

“I think she is wonderful — easy listening — I think it takes a lot to get up in front of your peers on stage and do what you do — whether they’re gonna like you or not — and she looks like she’s having fun.”

Fourth-year marketing and management student Jake Etheridge said he’s a fan of We The Kings, but also came out to support Dreis.

“I’m actually good friends with Haley Dreis, and a big fan of We The Kings,” Etheridge said. “I’m in a band, too — CherryCase — and Haley Dreis is going to be playing with us a lot in the upcoming months.”

All of the members of CherryCase came out to listen to Dreis.

“We actually came out to support her more than We The Kings,” Etheridge said.

Other students like Katelyn Brooks, first-year early childhood student, came to hear We the Kings but is glad to have discovered Dreis’s music.

“I think she’s really good,” Brooks said. “I’ll definitely listen to her in the future.”