Concert preview: Former Scattered Trees guitarist Nate Eiesland picks up the pieces with On an On

By Columbus Alive
From the September 26, 2013 edition

On an On recorded Give In in a converted church in Toronto, Ontario, and the eerie sense of calm typically associated with religious structures pervades every corner of the Chicago crew’s dreamy debut. Opening track “Ghosts” sets the tone, building around a haunted array of synthesizers and singer Nate Eiesland’s world-weary moans.

The band formed following the unexpected dissolution of Eiesland’s former group, Scattered Trees, which favored a more straightforward, guitar-oriented sound and had built up a solid regional following over nearly a decade of making music together. Even so, when brothers Baron and Jason Harper departed the crew, the remaining musicians weren’t ready to hang ’em up just yet. In that sense On an On’s music can be heard as the sound of the bandmates picking up the pieces and figuring out how to soldier onward. Forage opens the show.

Over the course of almost a decade, Scattered Trees evolved from a solo project into a full-on band, so it was with some reservation that founder and frontman Nate Eiesland pulled the plug on the indie-rock crew after brothers Jason and Baron Harper left the group in the summer of 2012.

So far audiences have responded positively to the new direction. The band recently returned from a European trek that included a sold-out show in London, and there are already so many 2013 tour dates booked that Eiesland recently gave up his Logan Square apartment, figuring he wouldn't really be living there anyway.