For Lakeridge grads, it's a neon-colored world
Con Bro Chill, which got its musical start in Lake Oswego, now promotes a message of party purism
A nationally televised promo for fall television features a locally harvested earworm.
CBS has chosen an addictive dance track to get viewers excited about its new lineup: Will Arnett bangs on a glitter-filled snare drum as NCIS: New Orleans star Scott Bakula lip-syncs the titular lyrics We should hang out! Its a party montage of sorts, with the likes of Tea Leoni, Lucy Liu and Tom Selleck getting pumped for the networks sitcoms and crime procedurals. And its all set to the addictive beats of Lake Oswegos own party anthem virtuosos, Con Bro Chill.
Lakeridge High School graduate Connor Martin says the somewhat-eponymous band started out as a family affair and something of a joke. With the help of his older brother, Sam, an accomplished musician, keytar player Martin made music videos that skewered the lax bro or lacrosse brother lifestyle.
For the uninitiated which is to say, those outside traditional or West Coast ivies the lax bro subculture reappropriates surfer-speak vocabulary: bro, sure, but also gems like gnarly and stoked. It also takes from this era its playful but strangely dated sartorial sense, with lax bro adherents favoring colorful beachwear. The subculture is so pronounced that a recent article in the niche periodical Inside Lacrosse bemoaned: The Lax Bro Culture is Holding Back Lacrosse.
Martin spent much of high school and his time at Chapman University in California more or less immersed in this world. An accomplished athlete, he is a two-time recipient of the Mens Collegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Year Award and currently a player in the major leagues. So when he was inspired to embark on his musical journey, even jokingly, it was perhaps natural that he would enlist his brother to help him create, as he says, a caricature of a lax bro who would announce to the world his Search for Flow.
But if Con Bro Chill started out as a parody of the lax bro culture starring Cons lacrosse alter ego, Martin says the joke only lasted about three months. It has since morphed into its own entity.
With Sam and the addition of childhood friend and fellow Lakeridge alum Ty Andre and former college roommate Steve Felts, Martin says, We started making music and kind of turned into this entertainment supergroup. We combined power, and now you have Con Bro Chill.
Sure, there a lot of equestrians and lacrosse people in their fan base, Martin allows. But the foundation? Were trying to write awesome songs, with upbeat music, he says.
That simple mission has led to an enduring popularity, and enough YouTube views to attract the attention of at least one major network hence the primetime plug.
Its really about celebrating at a high level bright colors and high intensity. I think the word we use is playful, very self-deprecating. Were not rock stars. We think thats more funny than the whole Im so sexy, youve got to have this (element) that a lot of pop culture has.
Con Bro Chill fans are called the Neon Army, and the band offers merchandise ranging from fringed arm bands to jammy packs fanny packs equipped with built-in speakers.
Together, the bandmates have forged a dayglo-colored mythology that permeates hits like Party Animal, Dance Thief and Power Happy.
The accompanying music videos are filmed in a fluorescent-hued landscape of trampolines and disco balls, where the unofficial uniforms include hallmarks of early-90s fashion, like B.U.M.-brand sweatshirts and Zubaz pants, accented by glowstick necklaces and the occasional pastel luchador mask.
But the videos take place near tell-tale waterfalls and videos which set them squarely in the Portland metro area.
There is a sense of indulgence in the Con Bro Chill world, but its not unhealthy. Drug and alcohol references are notably absent from the hedonistic lifestyle the band seems to cheekily promote, and Con Bro Chills brightly-colored, bacchanalian odysseys around Portland by party bus are characterized by goofy choreography and an all-ages inclusivity.
After all, the members of Con Bro Chill have long enjoyed community support for their colorful endeavors.
Half our videos are shot at Lakeridge, Martin admits.
It was a great place to grow up, he says of Lake Oswego. Our neighborhood, our parents we werent super bad kids, so we kind of got to do what we wanted, we got to take risks, Martin explains. Enough of our community was supportive of going after dreams like this. No one ever gave us grief for making videos.
The band is currently packed into a van and on a 16-city tour that will take them through Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Oregon, of course. After all, the members of Con Bro Chill have long enjoyed community support for their colorful endeavors.
For more information about the band, visit www.conbrochill.com.
Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT