State Radio Rocks the Troubadour Stage


Author: Chris Ellis

On Thursday, March 17, the surf-rock trio State Radio took the stage at the Troubadour in the latest performance on their “The State of Troy” tour. ChadUrmston, Chuck Fay and Mike Najarian were the biggest attraction in West Hollywood. They played for a crowd of loyal fans that know both the current music of State Radio and remember the music of frontman Chad Urmston’s previous band Dispatch. 

State Radio’s studio albums “Us Against the Crown” (2006), “The Barn Sessions” (2007), “Year of the Crow” (2008) and “Let It Go” (2009) have cemented the band as a politically charged and socially involved alternative to the neutral pop sensations of today. As Urmston described, “State Radio attracts people who are really into the music. State Radio is off the beaten path, and our fans are pretty political people who are aware of the problems in the world.”
State Radio is a band that fuses social activism with a love for music. Recently the band has taken up the issue of death row inmate Troy Davis, who was convicted of killing a Georgia police officer in 1991. Since then, the case against him has been slowly crumbling. Davis remains on death row today, and State Radio believes that this case “exemplified the plight of someone who is most likely innocent and didn’t have fair trail.”
In August 2009, the Supreme Court ordered a hearing on the Davis case but found that he did not meet the “extraordinarily high standard” for proving his innocence.  
Their current tour is aptly named  (The State of Troy tour) which the band hopes will create a widespread awareness of the Davis case and can highlight the plight of the potentially innocent on death row. 
State Radio wants to be remembered for the music before their social commentary, however. Urmston said, “We are musicians first. Activists second. Music steers everything. But we want to do our part to be a catalyst for dialogue.”
The Troubadour show began with an opening band from Texas called The Ton Tons. The voice of lead singer Asli Omar struck a chord with the St. Patrick’s Day crowd, and upon hearing the call for a last song, the audience broke out in cries for more. Next up, State Radio came on stage, accompanied by Matt Embree from RX Bandits.
At certain points, Urmston would change guitars from a traditional solid body to a strange eclectic guitar that was to be fashioned from an old gas can. The band played all their popular hits, except for “Right Me Up,” which was notably absent from the set.
Urmston spoke to the crowd about the charitable projects that State Radio has currently been working on, including projects to help Afghan mothers and other women who cannot afford clothes for job interviews. They also thanked The Ton Ton’s for accompanying them on the tour before they silently slipped off stage. To the roars of the crowd, the band quickly came back on for an encore, where they finished by playing a couple of crowd favorites.
Urmston has previously said that “music has a neat way of soaking into people’s lives,” and it’s true. On that night in West Hollywood, the music of State Radio soaked into the Troubadour walls. Urmston, Fay, Embree and Najarian looked exhausted. Sweat dripped from their brows as they thanked the audience for a great show. 
The fans left, moving on to the nightlife of West Hollywood. State Radio exited the stage, leaving a trail of footsteps that carried not only the weight of their music, but also the hopes of Troy Davis, who sits alone in a Georgia prison, hoping for one last chance at redemption.
To find out more on Troy Davis and State radio’s involvement with him, check out the new Troy Davis page on their website,

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