Lionize, The Pinstripes, Jack Magick & The 8 Balls, Clockwork Kids

For a band with so little pretense, sometimes it can be easy to forget just how much the respected DC quartet Lionize has accomplished since their inception in 2004. From being the first band to play both Bonnaroo and the Vans Warped Tour in the same year to their five full-length albums to virtually non-stop touring year after year, the groove-heavy rock group has dared to do more than most bands could ever hope to accomplish. On the release of their most recent album, Superczar and the Vulture, produced by the famed J. Robbins and their first on Pentimento Music Company, the band showcases their live sound in a way that they have never done before, allowing the listener an unprecedented look at the experience of hearing the songs played live in front of them.

"Superczar was the first time we were really intent on capturing the sound of the band live. We had done so much touring in the interim between records that our style had begun to change quite a bit," says bassist Henry Upton who established the group in 2004 with vocalist/guitarist Nate Bergman and keyboardist Chris Brooks. Drummer Mel Randolph completed the current line-up when he joined the band in 2007. Upton goes on to explain that on the new record, "our influences crystallized and we had a greater sense of identity… we also tried to create 'song suites' for the first time on this record, where there's 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted music, something more ambitious than we'd done before. It's definitely the most complete, distinct Lionize record so far."

Doubtless, the band's long tenured members and extremely heavy touring schedule have contributed to the evolution of their distinct brand of dark reggae-infused rock. "Having the same group for so long has led us to be able to open things up musically. We get along shockingly well," muses Brooks. "Touring has a way of making you a better player at your craft, and as a band. It has allowed us to build a reputation for ourselves as being a great live show and really cutting deep into improvising," says Randolph. All of this makes it obvious that for the members of Lionize, music is not only a passion but an integral part of who they are. "We really are just 4 guys who get together in a basement and jam. Whatever comes out of that is where we will go. As a band we never really try to discuss the direction of the sound or songs, we really just play what we think is the grooviest and heaviest jam we can, and let the music take us forward," claims Bergman.

This straightforward approach embodies the hard-working, every-man ethics that are at the very heart of Lionize, and has led to both critical acclaim and an ever-growing fan base for the band. Bergman continues, "The shows keep getting bigger, and the tours get better. More and more people continue to spread the word and come out." Chimes in Randolph, "Our fans are very loyal. They range from their mid-teens to upwards of their late 40s. It's cool having a wide spread of generations as fans of our music."

Yet as they grow, long-time fans of the band have nothing to fear. "As cliché as it is, the more things change, the more Lionize seems to dig its heels in and make the music we want to, the way we see most fit," says Bergman about their fierce, uncompromising nature. But you can always guarantee that no matter what, the guys will continue to create a powerful sound uniquely their own. Affirms Randolph, "Crowds will hear the name 'Lionize' and kind of expect more of a straight-ahead reggae style from us, but there is a lot more to our sound. We're always mixing it up, and making it funky!"

With their heavy touring continuing throughout the foreseeable future, one can be assured that Lionize's incomparable sound will only continue to grow stronger with each show and audiences will persist in being impressed by a band which, as one critic said, makes even the most notable musicians "shake their heads and wish they'd thought of that."

The Pinstripes

If you're not having fun at a Pinstripes show, brothers and sisters, check for a toe tag. Your autopsy may already be in progress.

Winners of the 2007, 2009 and 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best World Band, The Pinstripes don't merely play Ska and Reggae — they inhabit the sound like it's a ramshackle house that's keeping them alive. Tight but never slick, fun but never goofy, intense but never serious, The Pinstripes (a hard-touring band with a hard-won following) combine Ska, Reggae, Dub and Soul to create something that's genuinely lacking in a great deal of contemporary music: joy.

Throw out all the standard Rock crit hoohah; the Cincinnati sextet takes the raw ingredients of Studio One Reggae, first-, second- and third-generation Ska and an absolute flawless sense of Soul, seeds it, stems it and rolls it into an enormous spliff that's nothing short of pure, unadulterated exhilaration. You can tell that the Pinstripes are having an absolute stratospheric blast every time they're on stage together and they transfer that feeling of unrestrained joy to the audience with an almost casual effort. But make no mistake; the Pinstripes are working overtime to generate that joy, and the work shows through every bit as clearly as the play. The band knows its shit and executes it with tighter-than-a-Republican's-ass marching band precision but with swing and swagger to spare. If the Pinstripes are playing, you want to be there.

Jack Magick & The 8 Balls

Rock and Roll.

Clockwork Kids are an alternative rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina formed in February 2012 by lead singer/songwriter and bass guitarist Justin Ellis. Though originally intended as a temporary outlet for musical expression, the band gained popularity in the UNC- Chapel Hill community and quickly established itself as one of its premier student bands. In summer 2012, the band was rounded out with guitarist Jeff DeLuca, guitarist/ keyboardist /soundscapist Chris Petto, guitarist/ bassist Patrick Carney, and drummer Mike Carney. The band has since toured their home state, the Northeast United States, and parts of Canada shortly after releasing their debut album "The Swain Sessions" in April 2013. In October 2013, Dylan Abolafia became the group's full-time drummer in the wake of Mike's move to Greensboro. The band is hard at work preparing their second record and a winter tour of the southeast. With a sound described by the INDY Weekly magazine as "a [reverent] take on early R.E.M.", the band aims to combine the massive three-guitar approach of bands such as Radiohead and Shearwater with the more introspective lyricism of bands like Elbow and The Cure, with a decidedly 90's shoegaze-tinged flavor.

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Lionize, The Pinstripes, Jack Magick & The 8 Balls, Clockwork Kids

Saturday, October 26 · 10:00 PM at Snug Harbor