2018-04-05 / Front Page

Sparks fans still follow

By Abigail Worthing Staff Writer


Toby McAllister of Poland with three Sparks the Rescue fans from Sanford. From left is Brenna Whelan, 22, McAllister, Kayleigh Verrell-Peters, 21, and Victoria Blow, 22. (Abigail Worthing photo) Toby McAllister of Poland with three Sparks the Rescue fans from Sanford. From left is Brenna Whelan, 22, McAllister, Kayleigh Verrell-Peters, 21, and Victoria Blow, 22. (Abigail Worthing photo) SACO/OLD ORCHARD BEACH – It’s 9:30 p.m. at the Brunswick in Old Orchard Beach and the band playing is Maine’s own Sparks the Rescue. So far in their first set, they’ve played covers, crowd favorites that include “Brown Eyed Girl” and “American Girl” and while the crowd is warming up, the dance floor is empty.

“Next up we’re going to play one of our original songs, ‘Pine Tree State,’” says lead singer Alex Roy, 32.

There are cheers and yells from the crowd, and suddenly the dance floor fills. There are Sparks fans in the crowd tonight, and they came to dance.

Sparks the Rescue was formed in 2005 when Toby McAllister, 31, of Poland Spring and Alex Roy of Saco, both students at the University of Southern Maine, decided to merge the two bands to form one.


Alex Roy performs with his band Sparks the Rescue on March 16 at the Brunswick in Old Orchard Beach. Roy is a Saco native and Thornton Academy alumnus. (Abigail Worthing photo) Alex Roy performs with his band Sparks the Rescue on March 16 at the Brunswick in Old Orchard Beach. Roy is a Saco native and Thornton Academy alumnus. (Abigail Worthing photo) “We kept facing each other in Battle of the Bands, and we would always finish one in fourth and one in fifth. Eventually we thought, ‘Hey, if we put our bands together, maybe we could actually win one of these,” said Roy.

The band started to create new music together, releasing its first EP with John Wyman called, “Hey, Mr. Allure” in 2006 and was beginning to gather a following on Myspace. By the time they released their second EP, the band was touring locally and throughout New England, garnering a large hometown fan base with songs like “Saco Boys Have No Class” and “Getting Clean in the Dirty South.”

In 2008, all of the touring and hard work paid off when their Double Blind music produced album, “Eyes to the Sun,” got them signed to Fearless Records. Their pop-punk sound and lyrics ranged from fun to poignant AND they began to pick up momentum. In 2009 they participated in a contest called “Get My Music on MTV,” where they filmed a commercial of their music to be played on MTV that fans would then vote on.

“We flew out to LA from Atlanta where we were touring and waited 12 hours to film for three minutes, and then flew straight back for our tour,” Roy said.

The band won the contest and their music video for their song, “We Love Like Vampires,” was played on MTV. They also had music featured on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and their song, “Hello Mexico” was featured on “The Real World: Cancun.”

In 2010, Sparks the Rescue played 30 dates on the Vans Warped Tour, a tour Roy and McAllister refer to as a “bucket list experience,” especially following the announcement that after touring annually since 1995, the summer 2018 tour would be its last. Warped Tour is the longest running music festival in North America, and features different punk rock bands and musicians every year.

Sparks the Rescue was also featured on the 2010 album “Punk Goes Pop Volume 3,” an album where punk bands cover pop songs. The album featured the band’s cover of the Lady Antebellum song, “Need You Now.”

During the last seven years, Sparks has consistently toured and performed throughout New England. While other band members have phased in and out with changing schedules and family obligations, McAllister and Roy have stayed constant. When asked about their favorite moments from the last 10 years, McAllister and Roy cited a European tour opening for All American Rejects, as well as a United States tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in 2012.

McAllister and Roy are now both married “to wonderful women” said McAllister, and their performances now keep them closer to home.

“It’s nice to not be gone all the time,” McAllister said.

For their show at the Brunswick on March 16 McAllister and Roy are performing with current band members Matt Libby, a Saco native who has been with the band for about a year according to Roy, and drummer Nate Spencer from Poland Springs who has been with the band since the beginning.

In the crowd are a group of three fans that have followed the band for seven years. Victoria Blow, 22, Brenna Whelan, 22, and Kayleigh Verrell-Peters, 21, are all from Sanford. This is their eighth time seeing them perform live.

“We try to come see them whenever they’re close,” Blow said. “They’re one of my favorite live bands.”

The three took a moment to show the band a photo of themselves with Sparks at the first show they ever attended in 2011, and to tell them how much they loved the music.

When asked why she got in to Sparks the Rescue, Alyssa Ames of Arundel said she and her friends liked that the band was local, having attended Thornton Academy like Roy.

“They did a show with ‘Sing It Loud,’ and we really liked the genre,” Ames said. “I’ve been to too many shows to count.”

Sparks the Rescue will play shows throughout the southern Maine area this summer, with shows at The Pier in Old Orchard Beach and at the Brunswick, as well as doing a few shows a week in Boston. The band will also perform at the Hard Rock in Fort Lauderdale this May. Sparks the Rescue has a new music out on their Facebook page and on youtube.

Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthecourier.com.

Located on the corner of Hill and West streets, it’s a heavily traveled intersection in Biddeford with four of Biddeford’s five schools within a mile of the intersection, adding to the volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The back stop at the field

FMI

Headed by a Saco native, Sparks the Rescue has performed since 2005. Learn more at www.facebook.com/ sparkstherescue/.

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