Hollywood hits Topeka Friday with a concert in the NOTO Arts District featuring an indie-rock band fronted by the star of “American Pie.”
The Thomas Nicholas Band will take the stage at J&J’s Gallery Bar, 918 N Kansas Ave., for a set consisting of original material and songs from the aforementioned raunchy teen comedy flick.
The band is led by actor/musician Thomas Ian Nicholas, whose path to stardom began when he landed the lead role as a 12-year-old pitcher for the Chicago Cubs in the 1993 film “Rookie of the Year.”
The show in NOTO kicks off the band’s week-long “Frat Party” tour.
“This is my first show in Kansas, but not my first affiliation with the state,” said Nicholas. “Anyone who has Netflix might want to check out ‘Walt Before Mickey,’ where I play Walt Disney during his early life and career.”
Nicholas’ role in that film sees him portray the cartoonist’s time in Kansas City, where Disney launched his first animation studio.
The Thomas Nicholas Band has been around for roughly a decade and, in that time, has self-released six albums.
“The first five albums were all original songs and we would throw in a couple of covers at the end each show for fun,” said Nicholas. “At the end of last year, we decided it would be fun to do something a little bit different. So we came out with a ‘Frat Party’ album that we released in February and we chose all our favorite songs from the American Pie movies.”
Nicholas has toured North America, the UK and Europe in support of his newest album, which features his take on songs by pop-punk acts like Blink-182 and The Foo Fighters.
“We would throw originals in there and what usually happens at the end of the show, someone’s like ‘Hey man that was really cool. How come you didn’t play any originals?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah we played seven original songs.’ But it kind of fits right in that realm. If you dig pop punk or you know all the music, then you’re probably like our stuff. And you won’t be able to tell which one’s the cover and which one is the TNB original.”
Nicholas says the band’s line up is a revolving door of musicians he enlists for each tour. This time out, he’ll be on stage with guitarist Matt Kennedy (The Dangerous Summer), bassist Jared Wuestenberg (The Graduate) and drummer Chris Mason (The Super Happy Fun Club).
“Each tour, you’ll find a different group of musicians,” said Nicholas. “That said, it’s the Thomas Nicholas Band, so as long as I’m in it, it’s still TNB.”
Nicholas is bringing the band to the area for a private wedding party on Saturday and jumped at the chance to warm up with an appearance in NOTO.
J&J’s Gallery Bar will open their doors Friday at 3 p.m., with the band scheduled to take the stage at 9 p.m.
“We’re just going to play it by ear,” said Nicholas. “We usually play until someone tells us to shut up.”
Tickets are available for $5 at the door.
Nick Gosnell contributed to this post
Photo credit: Facebook.com/TINband