Spacehog, Sponge

A vortex of happenstances occurred in 1994, when four expats from Leeds collided to become Spacehog. Brothers, Royston Langdon (Vocals and Bass Guitar) and Antony Langdon (Guitar and Vocals), Jonny Cragg, (Drums) and Richard Steel (Lead Guitar) found themselves gathering the force that occurs when stars properly align.

The band became quickly infamous; their situationist concerts were legendary in the East Village. Their sound so very different from the neo-grunge movement of the early 90's, that within a short time, after the signing of a cocktail napkin deal with the prolific Seymour Stein, Spacehog entered the airspace of nineties rock stardom on the Sire label.

On October 24, 1995, Spacehog released their debut album, Resident Alien, produced by Bryce Goggin. Resident Alien was widely received, selling a million copies, and spawned the hit single and video "In the Meantime". Spacehog created their own genre of sound challenging the moniker of glam-rock by rounding out to a whole new identity, carrying forth the profound influences of T Rex, Iggy Pop, Queen, David Bowie & the Spiders, by colliding these influences with a wall of distorted guitars, and the stupendous daring of their lead vocals. It was a musical statement that seemed to say, life is too serious to be taken seriously, and was a welcome reprise from the levity of late-90's alt-rock.

The band's second album, The Chinese Album, was released on March, 1998. The Chinese Album featured a more ambitious symphonic sound in the spirit of British psychedelic rock, garnering critical acclaim. Where the evolution of Spacehog did not always meet with the same commercial viability as the band achieved with Resident Alien, the band evolved and its sound matured. Spacehog signed with upstart label Artemis Records, and released its third album in February, 2001, "The Hogyssey" produced by Paul Ebersol, in Memphis Tennessee. Life and its trappings ran fiercely concurrent with the severe mood of the world in September 2001, and Spacehog disbanded.

It's been 10 years, and Spacehog is back. The years that have passed delivered them to a whole new level of sound through experience. Given the lessons of time and the longing to evolve furthur as a group, Spacehog found their alignment once again, by force of will and gravity, reuniting with Bryce Goggin to create "As It Is On Earth" , the long awaited 4th album. At once rebellious and repentant, the sound transforms the emotive to the auditory, insistently driving the landscape of the listener as if to say "life is much too serious to be denied."

As the band prepares to invade our airspace once again, a series of residencies are being planned for NYC this winter with Timo Ellis, the multiinstrumentalist of Netherlands fame. Timo has stepped in on guitar and vocals for Antony Langdon, whilst he pursues celluloid success out west. Jonny, Richard and Royston are geared up and ready to remind us, that after all, the essence rock and roll is drama. "As It Is on Earth" promises to deliver.

(Vinnie Dombroski, lead vocals; Kyle Neely, guitar; Andy Patalan, guitar; Tim Patalan, bass; Billy Adams, drums)

During the boom of the mid-90's, Detroit based alternative rock band went Top 5 on the charts with songs, "Plowed" and "Molly (16 Candles)." With their catchy hooks and bone crunching riffs, the band went platinum on their debut album, Rotting Piñata. They are one of the most sought after live acts around and have been seen sharing the stage with such mega-artists as Guns N' Roses, Nickelback, Iggy Pop, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Kiss. Sponge is now touring in support of a brand new release Stop the Bleeding.

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."

Trapper Schoepp & The Shades

Milwaukee's Reigning Roots Rockers Trapper Schoepp & The Shades Release Run, Engine, Run on SideOneDummy Records on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trapper Schoepp has the ear of a troubadour, the eye of a journalist and the heart of a young poet. He began writing songs at a tender age with startling facility, distilling rock, folk and country traditions into tunes that are at turns spirited and melancholy. Themes ranging from pride of place, love and adventure shine with surprisingly sophisticated metaphors for a songwriter so young. Run, Engine, Run won't be out of place filed next to other artists distinguished for their early talent like Justin Townes Earle, Ha Ha Tonka and Lucero. Trapper, his brother Tanner, and the rest of their band the Shades offer this album as a love letter to their beloved home state of Wisconsin, and SideOneDummy will release it internationally on September 25, 2012.

Like his namesake M*A*S*H surgeon Trapper John, the 22-year-old Wisconsin songwriter found himself prepping for surgery a month before recording his band's third and latest album, Run, Engine, Run, the result of a gnarly BMX bike crash 6 years earlier. Fortunately, in the interest of him having a safer hobby, his mother gave him a guitar after the accident. Trapper was then able to turn his experiences on the operating table at the Mayo Clinic (for spinal decompression surgery) into songs like the Stones-flavored rocker, "Pins and Needles."

The title track refers to a red Mercedes Benz the Schoepps inherited from their grandfather. "We knew our grandfather wouldn't see another Christmas on his South Dakota farm. The chores were over for the day, but our grandpa said he could use a quick hand in the shed," Trapper explained. That's when he unveiled this ruby red 1964 Mercedes Benz, idling in a kind of out of place majesty alongside archaic farm equipment and rusted tools. The brothers jokingly asked their grandpa if they could drive it home to Wisconsin. They were soon scrambling around the nearest town looking for roadworthy tires. Schoepp sings:

"He won her at an auction just a couple months before
It seemed he gave away everything he saved up to afford
He wore a cowboy hat, a pearl snap shirt
Got up real early for his daily work
He was tied to a tradition from a long time ago"

"'Run Engine Run' has a lot of meanings for me. My grandfather's way of life was tied to timeless farming traditions passed down from generation to generation, the same way a songwriter is tied to and nourished by traditional songs. Musicians need to keep the engine running, to keep moving forward. The song is not only an ode to the car our grandpa gave us, but a nod to the perseverance of farmers in the Badlands and to preserving traditions." Tanner agrees: "It's about inheriting something of value from the past in a way that is not nostalgic, but vital and never-ending. The album title is a request for resiliency, a way of honoring the past, without getting stuck in it."

Trapper Schoepp & The Shades is comprised of Trapper on lead vocals and guitar, brother Tanner on bass and vocals, drummer Jon Phillip (Tommy Stinson, Limbeck), and lead guitarist Graham Hunt. Daniel McMahon (Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, Cameron McGill) produced Run, Engine, Run and contributed keyboard during the sessions. Grammy-award winning engineer Geoff Sanoff (Fountains Of Wayne, Green Day, Nada Surf) mixed the album. "As a rock n' roll band, we play music that has absorbed a whole range of stylistic overtones," Trapper says of the musicality he's after with the help of his band, The Shades. "In a sound bite world, it's crucial to regard certain music not as a static art, but one that transcends tidy categorization. A radio station once said our music is 'as much Pavement as Parsons.' I thought that was telling, because this album has a little bit of everything – rock, country, power-pop, even some punk."

Trapper and Tanner grew up harmonizing with each other in the small rural town of Ellsworth, WI, which is known as the Cheese Curd Capital of the World. Although there's little trace of a music scene in Ellsworth, the brothers became immersed in the folk, blues, and rock soundscape of American music thanks to the classic rock CDs they discovered in their father's Suburban. The beginnings of the band came together while the Schoepps were still in high school, playing covers and Trapper's earliest original songs. When Trapper and Tanner moved to Milwaukee for college, the band adopted the moniker the Shades and began a steady schedule of club and festival dates, somewhat hampered by the fact that they still weren't of legal drinking age. The group cemented their spot as a band-to-watch with the release of 2007's A Change in the Weather, a collection the band financed, produced and released on their own. Critics commended Trapper's heartfelt songwriting and the band's hard-hitting arrangements.

Shortly thereafter, Trapper discovered Gram Parsons and added a bit of cosmic cowboy music to the mix. "When I was a freshman, we had our first raucous party in our apartment, and were concerned that our older neighbor upstairs was going to be upset. The next morning there was a 30 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and a stack of Gram Parsons CDs by our back door. That's when we knew we'd found the right house to live in."

The band recorded 2009's Lived and Moved and solidified a new lineup by adding Jon Phillip and Graham Hunt. Original guitarist David Boigenzahn and violinist Gina Romantini sit in as often as their schedules permit, allowing the group to experiment with their sound and surprise fans with unexpected shifts of tone and live dynamics.

While it's difficult to capture the band's live charisma on record, Run, Engine, Run comes close with 12 well-crafted tunes that describe the everyday triumphs and tragedies of Midwestern life. As soon as the album hits the streets, The Shades will take to the road, bringing their heartland rock to the masses. "There's a blues song by the Rolling Stones called 'No Expectations' that hits on a person moving forward and not looking back," Trapper says. "I hear the song as the story of a young, lonely rambler or musician who's lost wealth and love, but accepts the fact that there's a whole world ahead of him. I'm young, so I look at this as an opportunity to press on and share songs. Right now I have no expectations other than to keep on keepin' on."

$17 / $20

Off Sale

add to your calendar

Upcoming Events
Emporium

Ticketfly

Spacehog, Sponge with Lionize, Trapper Schoepp & The Shades

Thursday, December 5 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM at Emporium

Off Sale