Blitz Kids recently stopped by ESPN on their way home to England from the sprawling SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, and entertained a roomful of employees with a quick three-song acoustic set.
And since they were in Bristol, they threw in a little ESPN twist -- a special arrangement of "Keep Swinging," their new EP. They're still working on the songs for a full-length album to follow up 2014's "The Good Youth."
In the above video, that's Nic Montgomery on the left, playing acoustic rhythm guitar instead of his usual bass. Jono Yates is to the right on lead guitar. Singer Joe James is wedged between the two guitarists. As for drummer Matt Freer? His drums didn't make the trip to Bristol, so he was off to the side, his hands occasionally chopping through the air on the parts he would have otherwise bashed out.
The wrinkle they threw in? That would be the familiar "dah-dah-dah, dah-dah-dah" of the "SportsCenter" theme.
"Keep Swinging" is a song about staying optimistic in the face of adversity. And like many songs of that sort, it was written when the future looked bleak.
"It’s a song we wrote four years ago in Jono's garage," James said. "It was a rainy day. We had no money, we were exhausted from touring constantly and trying to make it. We didn't have a label, we didn't have anyone coming to our shows … we wrote it as a 'keep going' [song] for us, as a motivational song. But we never actually finished it -- we couldn't get the chorus right, so we left it in the back drawer for a couple of years."
In fact, "Keep Swinging" wasn't completed until the band's fortunes had turned 180 degrees – when they were recording their debut album in Los Angeles at the home of producer John Feldmann, better known as the lead singer of Goldfinger.
"We finished writing it there in the sunshine outside [Feldman’s] house," Smith says. "It was a quite nice rounding of the circle."
If there’s one thing rock and roll hasn't delivered for Blitz Kids, it's more opportunities to see Manchester United play. The band's home town of Nantwich, is about an hour south of Manchester, but their touring schedule gets in the way of attending more than a few matches.
"I've been to four [home] games now this year," said Yates, who described his Man U fanhood as "an 8 or a 9" on a scale of 1 to 10.
"We've only been home for six," Smith adds. "It always seems to be our shows are on the weekends."
But if they can't be at the matches in person, maybe Blitz Kids can still find their way in through the PA speakers.
"We're working on trying to get our song played at Old Trafford," Smith says. "That'd be great. That would be one on the bucket list."