Huntley-area Kings By Day brings high energy to RocHaus show Friday

What it takes to be punk rock isn't always clearly defined.

That question seems to be on the minds of Huntley's Bailey Evert and Ryan McQueen of Kings By Day. They say they're not punk rock, but their fans say they sound like they are. And while most of the band's members have come from area pop-punk and rock bands, and the band's music carries a heavy pop-punk influence, what's clear is it took an acoustic artist to bring them all together.

When Bailey showed his younger brother Noah and fellow musician McQueen the song he was working on in 2021, the pieces of what was to become Kings By Day started to fall into place.

That song was last year's release “Weightless,” a debut that took the growing McHenry County pop-punk scene by surprise.

“I come from a singer-songwriter background,” said Bailey, who made a name for himself playing regular solo gigs around suburban venues. “So going from acoustic music to a full band, boom, in-your-face kind of thing, people just didn't expect it. And I think that's what helped us. It really made it special.”

The foursome — the Evert brothers, McQueen on guitar and drummer Caleb Jennings of Marengo — will hit the stage Friday for the first time this year at Rookies RocHaus, opening for touring act Aranda along with Don't Think Twice and Embers Rise.

Since that 2022 release, Kings By Day has dropped two other singles — “Fragile” and, most recently last month, “Fallout” — with videos for each by Alex Zarek. And the band has more in the works, shooting for another release this fall.

Bailey said the Evert household was inspirational in his and Noah's musical careers, with his dad's love of concerts and collecting guitars and the kids always watching “The Naked Brothers Band” musical comedy series on Nickelodeon. Music was his therapy to help him deal with an early childhood illness, and once he recovered, playing guitar had become part of who he was.

“But deep down I always wanted that 'Naked Brothers Band' thing,” he said. “I wanted to be in a band, but I kept more to myself in high school, so I mostly just played my acoustic guitar.”

McQueen and Noah trailed a few years behind Bailey at Huntley High School, but they often crossed paths on the music scene, sharing basement shows, school events and gigs at the now-closed Penny Road Pub and the House Cafe. Bailey and Jennings also played briefly in a band together, too. But after their respective graduations, the musical projects dissipated as members headed on different paths.

Now in their early and mid-20s, it's somewhat ironic that “Weightless,” a song about being on the receiving end of a breakup, is what brought them all back together.

“I feel like now's the right time because we're all more open with each other. I think we're so close together now,” McQueen said. “There's no forcing anybody to do anything because we're all just taking our time with this. It's taken two years to get here, but I feel like the two years has kind of paid off a lot better than most of us expected.”

• • •

Aranda, Don't Think Twice, Embers Rise, Kings By Day

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1

Where: Rookies RocHaus, 96 W. Main St., West Dundee,

Tickets: $15-$20 for general admission; seating reservations available

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