Drusky Entertainment Presents
A Rocket To The Moon, This Century, Brighten
1620 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15222
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 6:30 PM
This event is all ages
Despite sharing their name with a northeastern state, the Maine formed in 2007 in Tempe, AZ, a collegiate suburb of Phoenix. Most of the bandmembers — singer John O'Callaghan, guitarists Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco, bassist Garrett Nickelsen, and drummer Pat Kirch — were in high school at the time, and the guys wasted little time turning their '90s radio rock band influences into a familiar, infectious pop-punk sound. The Maine signed to Fearless Records and released a five-song concept EP, The Way We Talk, in 2007. After performing on the Vans Warped Tour one year later, the group issued a full-length debut album, Can't Stop Won't Stop, which was produced by emo-pop veteran Matt Squire. The record peaked at number 40 on the Billboard charts and caught the ear of Warner Bros. Records, who signed the Maine to a major-label contract in 2009. After releasing a deluxe version of Can't Stop Won't Stop later that year, the group returned to the studio, eventually emerging in 2010 with the sophomore album Black & White. That year also marked some new developments for the band: their first headlining tour, and album of the year accolades for Black & White from Alternative Press. The Maine offered full-length Pioneer in December 2011.
A Rocket To The Moon
On Your Side
Looking back now, it's difficult to believe that A Rocket To Moon all started in Nick
Santino's bedroom three years ago when he harmlessly posted a few songs on the
Internet. However what began as an electro-tinged sonic experiment quickly
snowballed into a full-fledged band that's toured with acts like 3OH!3 and Cobra
Starship, played festivals like the Vans Warped Tour and Bamboozle and gained
fans all over the world. "I never actually intended for A Rocket To The Moon to get
this far," Santino admits, adding he couldn't be more thrilled about the current
incarnation of the band. "I always wanted to take it to the next level and put a
couple of guys in the act instead of having all the focus on me, so after Bamboozle
'08 we started performing as a full band and right now the sound is perfect."
The current incarnation of A Rocket To The Moon—Santino, guitarist Justin
Richards, bassist Eric Halvorsen and former The Receiving End Of Sirens
drummer Andrew Cook—have put their collective experiences into the band's
full-length debut On Your Side, an instantly infectious collection of upbeat pop
music that was produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Boys Like Girls).
"We had never recorded a full-length before and we learned so much from working
with Matt," Santino explains, adding that On Your Side was recorded in a scant
seventeen days—a fact that only adds to the album's sense of urgency. "We did it
really quickly but we didn't feel any pressure because we spent so much time
preparing before we went into the studio," he continues. "Justin and I are big
country fans, so it's got that feel to it mixed with a '90s pop-rock kind of vibe; it's
just an all-round fun album that doesn't fit into one genre."
From heartfelt piano ballads such as "Like We Used To" to energized radio-friendly
rockers like "Dakota" and electronica-inflected tracks like "Sometimes," On Your
Side is an exercise in versatility that shows how much the band have evolved as
musicians and songwriters over the past few years. "There are so many different
styles of music on this record, but I think Matt Squire helped us pull it off tastefully
so it definitely all still sounds like A Rocket To The Moon," Santino says. "One of
my favorite songs is "Like We Used To" because it has a lot of pedal steel and
banjo on it, which is something that's totally new for us," he beams. "What can I
say? I'm a sucker for a good love song."
Lyrically On Your Side is a concept album of sorts that pits the characters of
"Dakota"—the protagonist of the band's breakthrough single—against "Annabelle"
(the new album's opening track). "We kind of developed this theme that all the
negative songs are about this character Annabelle and all the love songs are about
Dakota—and that concept just came together when we were in the studio,"
Santino explains, "I think the album is a good balance of those two dueling
feelings." While On Your Side is rooted in personal experience, the band were
careful not too make the songs too literal in order to allow each listener the
opportunity to have his or her own unique interpretation. "A lot of the time Justin
and I will find ourselves making up stories or writing from other people's points of view and I really think that's the beauty of writing songs," Santino explains." You can do
whatever you want, so why limit yourself?"
This attitude carries over into the band's mission statement—and from their inception A
Rocket To The Moon have never had any interest in pigeonholing themselves into one style.
"I think it's pretty awesome that we're able to tap a couple of genres instead of getting stuck
in just one," Santino says. "Your options are pretty much unlimited if you can do a radio tour
with a band like the Fray and then come back and tour with Boys Like Girls and Cobra
Starship and have all different types of listeners embrace your music," he continues, adding
that the restless band are already working on songs for their next album. "We just want to try
new things and crossover into different places; one of the most validating things you can
experience as a musician is to turn listeners on to something they wouldn't normally be
exposed to on their own."
Speaking of which, the band's connection with their fans runs deep, a fact that has helped
separate the act from their peers and forge lasting relationships. "A lot of bands have
different onstage and offstage personalities, but we are always true to ourselves and try to
get the fans as involved in the band as possible," Santino says, adding that he personally
mailed out copies of his debut EP to fans who supported him when A Rocket To The Moon
was just starting out. "We go up there and be ourselves and don't pretend to be rockstars;
our job is to bring music to our fans, not to act like we're better than them and that's
something I think people can really sense."
"I just can't wait to get these songs into people's hands," Santino responds when asked how
he feels for the album to finally be completed after all the work that's gone into the On Your
Side. "We got the masters back the other day and I was sitting there with a big smile on my
face as I listened to it. I was thinking, 'You just recorded with one of the best producers
around and you're about to release a real record—and a couple of years ago you were just
sitting in your bedroom at your parents' house not doing anything,'" he explains, taking a
moment to reflect on the band's whirlwind success that is looking to only grow more dizzying
upon On Your Side's release. "It's been an amazing ride so far and I can't wait to see what
This Century is a pop rock band from Tempe, Arizona. The members are Joel Kanitz (vocals), Alex Silverman (bass), Sean Silverman (guitar) and Ryan Gose (drums)
Brighten is an up and coming band with a lot of potential. They've got catchy lyrics and without a label they've been doing pretty well on their own. There is not only one way to interpret Brighten and who they are. Take Jimmy Eat World and stir in a little James Taylor, add a little Get Up Kids and top with a pinch of Phil Collins and out comes Brighten. They are rock and roll boys that you can take home to mom. They also perform amazingly.