Ultra Violet describes itself as an “ever-evolving project pushing the creative boundaries of self through musical expression.” It started out as a duo with Angie Lambrecht, a trained percussionist, and one of her best friends, Velvet Adams, on bass.
They were influenced by Shakey Graves, an Americana musician from Austin, Texas, who set out as a one-man band, playing his vintage guitar and a floor drum made out of suitcase.
“It was really inspiring to be able to say, hey, I can play guitar, I can sing and I can still play the drums all at the same time,” Lambrecht said.
(Music: “Dearly Departed” cover by Ultra Violet)
Ultra Violet almost fell apart when Adams moved away. Lambrecht was the last woman standing. The 27-year-old singer-songwriter was getting close to following in her friend’s footsteps and leaving Sioux City too when she met up with Shawn Blomberg and Adrian Kolbo, who have known each other since they were kids.
“I was kind of out in the waters, not really knowing what in the heck I was going to do,” she said. “These guys were like, you know what? We can keep this project rolling. Let’s do this.”
They introduced her to Randall Wood, another long-time mutual friend. The new combo struck a chord.
“She just radiates music. To really get to know her is to play music with her and listen to her music as well,” he said. “We’re basically family at this point.”
(Music: “Pocketful of Mojo” by Ultra Violet”)
Besides Lambrecht, everyone in the band lived here and moved away to bigger cities like Montreal, Indianapolis and Seattle. Then they back in their early-30s and 40s.
“We have a love for this city,” Wood said. “We love Sioux City. It’s our city.”
(Music: “Me and You” by Ultra Violet )
KOLBO: We’ve chosen to move back here and live here and make careers here.
WOOD: I bet you – Angela was just about to abandon Sioux City. I don’t even know that. I’m just guessing.
LAMBRECHT: I was. I piddle-paddled around the tri-state area over the last 10 years of my life, and I was getting ready to…
KOLBO: Spring out of here.
LAMBRECHT: But then, it was like it was just really, really cool with how all this happened.
KOLBO: Of all these experiences we’ve had in other cities and bands we’ve played with and musicians that we’ve collaborated with, this is right now the place we’re supposed to be, and we’ve all chosen it. That’s really cool.
LAMBRECHT: It definitely feels right.
KOLBO: It was weird that night when we met because we actually went to the same high school. We graduated – what are we? Seven years apart
LAMBRECHT: Seven-eight years.
KOLBO: We had like the same experience in high school, growing up on the westside, going to the same band program.
KOLBO: The same director. We just had this similar thing, where when Shawn and I saw her, we were like – like what they’re doing is really cool. You know, Shawn and I having moved away to find things that are really cool. It was really amazing to just walk into Vangarde and see this couple of women – they were just rocking it on stage. (We) find out what was going on with them, and then ultimately, now we’re in a band.
KARSYN: While some of their younger counterparts keep their eyes set on the big city, seeing it as the only place where dreams can come true, they’ve experienced a shift in perspective about the place they once called home.
KOLBO: I’d been thinking about moving back for a long time. It had always been this thing in the back of my mind. I have a big family here in Sioux City. The goal is to be around my family and their kids and all of that. My dad got sick. That kind of helped me to jump ship and just say, I’m moving back. That was about a year and a half ago.
BLOMBERG: Same for me. Family was the main inspiration. Also, (I was) just tired of the big city, the rat race and feeling like I was spinning my wheels. Randall and his wife, Christi, decided that they were going to make Sioux City their home. We ended up kind of landing all at the same time, which is really cool. It just made Sioux City feel like home to me again.
(Music: “I’m Free” by Ultra Violet)
KOLBO: I was the guy that left Sioux City and moved away to bigger cities, thinking that’s where all the answers are found. If you move away, great. You know, go find what you gotta find, but there’s a lot of really amazing people in Sioux City that are making art and music, and for our size, it’s really happenin’ here.