Interactive / Sing-A-Long / Folk Punk – Kansas City, MO
There’s very little that’s typical about folk-punk duo, Destroy Nate Allen. It’s not just their unique blend of folk, punk rock, campfire songs & foot-stomping country jams that set them apart; it’s their live performances—which are unlike any other bands’ out there.
“At this point pretty much every show involves: sing-a-longs, circles, very personal interactions, improv theater moments, marriage counseling, and as much punk rock as we can sweat out,” says guitarist/vocalist Nate Allen, who is accompanied by his wife Tessa on tambourine and vocals.
Right at the onset of the show, the audience quickly realizes they are in for something completely unlike the standard, run-of-the-mill, live-band performance. Nate and Tessa position themselves on the floor—even at venues with a stage—and have the audience make a circle around them, instantly shaking the audience awake, requiring their participation as much as the band’s.
“I don’t like the audience/performer barrier and I want to do away with it when at all possible. We are also trying to empower people to feel more joy and (do sillier things) than they would ever dream of doing at a show,” says Nate Allen.
Things only get weirder from there, as Nate and Tessa run back and forth inside the circle, not using microphones or amps, often singing inches away from members of the audience—in some cases going right up to people and touching them. But the goal for Destroy Nate Allen isn’t to make people uncomfortable—it’s to make them happy. Sometimes that means pulling people out of their comfort zone and reminding them what it feels like to be a kid.
“My favorite live shows were always the ones where I walked away feeling like I’d spent my time well. This often meant wearing home a huge smile. So I guess I’m just trying to be like my heroes and show people a VERY good time,” Nate Allen says.
Since Destroy Nate Allen are trailblazers in a category of their own, they are often left doing everything themselves—including booking tours, promotion, recording albums. They do it all!
“I don’t think DNA has ever really been DIY by choice per say. We’ve self-released most all of our music because no one has stepped up to help us out and so I’ve just gone ahead as best I could,” says Nate Allen.
Being so thoroughly independent has afforded them the freedom to grow and change in ways that has preserved their unwavering uniqueness, something they are extremely proud of.
“Being DIY has made us the band we are… being stretched and hungry has made us an intense live show and lead us to constantly reinvent ourselves over the years. Besides the shows, our tours generally consist of hanging out with as many people as possible and trying to recognize teaching moments as they come along. I guess this is what happens when two extroverts get married,” Nate Allen says.