Provo musicians return to stage after mission

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Caleb Darger enjoying his first show back in Provo at the Velour. (Eliza Spotz)

Many college students create or join bands, only to lose the passion during their missions and drop the dream of standing in the spotlight.

For members of band like The Mighty Sequoyah, Deadtooth and other Provo groups, this dream lives on.

For the first time since he left for the MTC two years ago, Caleb Darger, formerly of The Mighty Sequoyah, was welcomed back to the stage at the Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. Darger forgot how much he enjoyed being on the stage.

“All their old friends and fans came out again so it was just like old times,” said BYU student Kim Katz. “The vibes there were good, Caleb kept telling everyone to dance so that made the crowd have more energy. They were still just as good as back then.”

Darger said the mission influenced his songwriting. “You hear a lot of music in stores and it got in me somehow,” he said. Writing new songs on his mission with only an acoustic guitar, Caleb is going for a new sound, describing it as “dreampop.”

“It was weird writing songs that weren’t meant for only a certain group of musicians,” Darger said, referring to his days with The Mighty Sequoyah.

This transition happened for other big-name LDS musicians, like David Archuleta, who sang at BYU’s Spectacular.

For others like Joel Brown of Deadtooth, returning from a mission and playing with the band members he has known since middle school came with many realizations.

“Coming back from a mission, I had a better understanding that playing in the band is a social thing and it’s fun to play together as friends,” Brown described.

Some groups are vying to be the next Imagine Dragons while others just jam for fun, but many are transitioning back into the limelight from being a missionary, which can lead to some interesting changes.