Weird Mob hits the books by day and the pop hooks by night

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Married librarians Dave Gibson (left) and Renee Reighart form the indie-rock project Weird Mob. Publicity photo Married librarians Dave Gibson (left) and Renee Reighart form the indie-rock project Weird Mob. Publicity photo

“We’re librarians by day, and indie-rockers by night,” said Dave Gibson.

“And because we’re librarians, we think in a very organized, compartmental way,” added Renee Reighart.

Gibson works for the Library of Congress in Culpeper, while Reighart is employed at the Fine Arts Library at UVA. The couple moved to Charlottesville a few years ago, and are perhaps best known to local music fans as members of the now-defunct indie-pop group The Hilarious Posters.

“Believe it or not, the Posters was actually the first time we had played music together,” Gibson said.

“We’ll I’d played trumpet on one track for one of Dave’s earlier bands,” Reighart said, “but we’ve been married almost 11 years, and it took us five or six before we could collaborate on anything without fighting.”

Since the Posters disintegrated, Gibson has played as a sideman in Borrowed Beams of Light, while Reighart has played with Mss.. They also kept busy by making music videos for a number of local bands, and soon got the itch to start another one of their own. In February they debuted their new group, Weird Mob, headlining an EP release show at the Southern.

Though Weird Mob is a new band, Gibson’s sunshine-y pop hooks, sung in a charming, boyish voice, are immediately recognizable. The songs themselves aren’t much different from earlier efforts, but this time they’re packaged in a synthesizer-heavy, new-wave-flavored format. “It’s pretty similar, in some ways,” he said. “I let a few of my more esoteric influences creep in. But it’s poppy and melodic. I think no matter what I do, I can’t escape doing that.”

“Dave wrote and recorded all the songs himself, that’s something he’s been doing for a while,” Reighart said. “That’s been a trend with some bands, to have a singular vision, one creative voice, with other players that help you realize that live, but where the recording is the purest form of that vision. So I’m kind of just a hired hand.”

“She’s selling herself short,” Gibson said. “She does sing on it, she wrote the lyrics, she plays bass. That’s why I didn’t want to sell it as ‘Me, a dude, and here are my four buddies who play with me.’ I wanted to sell it as ‘Renee and I,’ as part of the whole Renee-and-Dave artistic endeavor. We designed the cover together, the whole aesthetic just comes from what we’re both into.”

“I’m definitely the cinematographer,” Reighart added.

The band’s debut was a one-minute music video, edited to look like the opening credits from a fictional 1980s TV show starring the band, consistent with an affection for the entertainment of the late analog era.

“I had been watching a lot of this old TV show, the ‘Tomorrow People,’” Gibson said. “It was ITV’s attempt at making a kind of ‘Doctor Who.’ So the opening credits are really in that style—a lot of still images, crazy shots of brains and electrodes—and I’d written that little intro jam, which was my attempt at writing something like the theme from ‘3-2-1 Contact.’”

By the time Weird Mob played its first live gig, it had already recorded a seven-track EP and made several music videos, a reversal of the process common to most bands. “We’d seen a lot of bands self-destruct when they put out an album, or when they went into the studio to record,” Gibson said. “It’s kind of backwards, but I’m glad we did it this way. I’ve been in so many bands where the release show of our first album was also the band’s last show, so for once I wanted to be in a band where the release was our first show.”

The debut EP, They’re a Weird Mob, is also the first release for Hibernator Gigs, the pseudonym Gibson and Reighart are using for their home-operated record label, as well as their music video endeavors.

“We were ready to put out the EP, but didn’t even want to have to talk to record labels,” Reighart said. “With the way music distribution is, there’s no reason to wait. We recorded it here in our house, in our own time, and it was like—‘Hey, it’s ready.’”

“Hibernator Gigs is an anagram of both of our last names,” she explained, “But it also kind of stands for one of our goals, which is just to stay home and make as much as you can, and be productive. In the past our creative exercises took the form of project more than product, and we wanted to shift more towards creating a product, and not get bogged down in messing around.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to come home and do things after work, especially with the commute that I have,” Gibson said. “That’s the other reason I wanted to make sure that Renee was part of it. She’s very encouraging of not just sitting around. It would be easy enough just to sit down and watch TV every night, but instead we work together on cool shit.”

Hibernator Gigs is currently at work on a 7″ compilation entitled Guided By Bob, in which a half-dozen local bands contribute “fake” covers, paying tribute to Bob Pollard’s Guided By Voices. The label will also release a forthcoming Borrowed Beams record.

Weird Mob will next appear at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar on March 21, along with Brooklyn bands The So So Glos and Sunset Guns, as well as Typefighter, a Washington, D.C. group featuring former local Thomas Orgren. Tickets are $7 and the doors open at 8:30pm.

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