Nico Vega & Crash Kings
The Last Year
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD, 21202
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
For us Nico Vega is a way of life. We are 3 people who play music together. We write as a band and help each other develop our ideas. The root of the music is the relationship between us. Nico Vega is about collaboration. We are a family and we honor each other by listening and allowing each other to grow. We push each other to be better and to carry each other when we feel weak.
Nico Vega represents a modern day saint. A warrior that has led us to a more fulfilling, lighter way of being. She represents people and unity. She fights for all of us and teaches us to fight for each other. She is an idea that has evolved into a message and she fuels us in our bellies. She is the person we are all capable of being, but she holds the bar high above our head so that we must reach to be better human beings. We all have honesty inside of us, we all know how to love, we are all made of the same flesh, and we are all stuck here together. Nico Vega reminds us that we can learn to fuse these ideas together and grow more solid as a unit of man. Alone we are lost, we fail, we grieve, we search, we struggle, we feel small. Together we are solid, found, loved, and powerful. We are our own greatest natural resource. Our ego falls away when we listen to each other. It is when we stop believing that we can learn from one another that we stop learning altogether. Only then are we alone. We are no different from each other; the same flesh, the same pain, the same love, the same heart. Our greatness is no threat. The more beautiful we are individually, the more powerful we are together. It is our Ego that betrays and lies and tells us that we are threatened when we are not.
You are a part of our family and we will always make music to communicate our love and gratitude for you. If you come to our show, throw your hands up so we can feel you... you will feel us.
Crash Kings give rock 'n' roll a tune-up on their forthcoming sophomore album Dark of the Daylight.
Rather than employ the same old tricks of the trade, the Los Angeles trio breathes new life into the genre. There's no guitar, nor does there have to be. Eschewing the six-string standard, the band utilizes clavinet, vintage keyboards, piano, analog synthesizers, distorted bass, and a good old-fashioned drum stomp. Crash Kings—Antonio (Vocals, Keyboards) and Michael Beliveau (Bass) and Jason Morris (handling drums on the album—bent and broke boundaries in order to craft their second album due out this summer. They're giving new meaning to the word "alternative".
Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, the Brothers Beliveau knew they were meant to make music together. One grainy family photo even shows Tony at three-years-old sitting at his dad's piano next to Michael just a year old. Growing up, they jammed together constantly, but it wasn't until the duo graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music that their own vision started coming into focus.
In 2006, Crash Kings came to life in Los Angeles. Shortly after forming, they caught the ear of the legendary producer and songwriter Linda Perry who signed them to Custard Records. With Perry's guidance, the group developed an enigmatic sound all their own. That sound resulted in a deal with Universal Motown in 2008, laying the groundwork for their self-titled debut to hit shelves in 2009.
Propelled by the hit single "Mountain Man", Crash Kings sent shockwaves throughout modern rock. The group was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and George Lopez Tonight, as "Mountain Man" took a firm hold on the #1 spot of Billboard's Alternative Songs Chart. Their music was also featured in Zombieland and Warren Miller's Dynasty as the band invaded every facet of pop culture.
Everything has been kicked up a notch (or eleven) for the band's second album. Michael explains, "On our first album, we focused on making edgy rock n' roll that featured the piano. This time around, we delved into using synthesizers and the clavinet a lot more. We've evolved and expanded - this is unexplored territory for us."
In order to properly canvas that unchartered territory, the band enlisted Nick Launay [Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arcade Fire, The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Supergrass] as producer. "We were searching for someone who was willing to take some risks," says Michael. "I started researching producers and came across Nick. So we put in a call. We met him for coffee and after five minutes of talking music, we knew he was the guy."
In the past, the band primarily worked from song ideas that Tony brought them. However, for this second album, Crash Kings hunkered down in their Los Angeles studio for three months writing together. As a result, each element stands out on songs like "6 Foot Tall". Tony's whammy bar outfitted clavinet wails like a full-on rock orchestra, while Michael's bass roars and rumbles with a distorted hum. Each song sounds more uninhibited than the next, especially when Jason's bombastic beats kick in. Antonio reveals, "The fact that we tracked the drums, bass, and most of keys live, gave this record an edge we were seeking."
In April 2011, Crash Kings set up shop in a North Hollywood house originally built by deceased Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro. The group would work during the afternoon, and then dine together at night before recording all evening. However, a few times, they think they may have gotten a little assistance from the home's original owner...
"That house is a little haunted," laughs Michael. "I had a few run-ins with the ghost when I was by myself. I came home from a Queens of the Stone Age concert, and I heard someone talking to me in the backyard, but I was the only one there. Another time, I swear I locked up and, when I came back, every door was wide open."
The only thing otherworldly about Crash Kings is their music. Their explosive live shows have entranced audiences of all shapes and sizes. They're unique brand of rock has lead them to share the stage with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Jet, Anberlin, Chris Cornell, The Bravery, and more.
Ultimately, Crash Kings go back to the basics with their new music, and they can rock anywhere. "We have this love of traditional rock from the '60s and '70s," Michael goes on. "We're not hung up on overproducing our music and layering to make it sound bigger. Most of time our philosophy is: 'less is more'. There's a lot you can do with just three instruments and vocals".
Crash Kings bring back that traditional spirit with a fresh fire. "We want to turn heads and make people think," concludes Michael. "That's why we're here".
The Last Year
Hailing from Baltimore, The Last Year is an alternative rock band. The act stems from an idea of front-girl Niki Barr, on vocals, and Scott Ensign, playing bass and synth. The pair, complemented by drummer, BJ Kerwin, and guitarist, Scott Griffith, approach their music with a kaleidoscopic attitude, embracing diverse influences and refusing to give in to conventions. Having toured over 30 countries on three continents, The Last Year is no stranger to the stage. With their impressive light show, guided by Barr’s coy, airy vocals that she expertly transforms into powerful rock melodies, and Ensign’s layers of synth growls, the show is a spectacle and a must-see.
The Last Year recently teamed up with Shanachie Entertainment in order to release a brand-new EP of new material. Describing the new release as “limitless” with “everything from buzz saw synth to airy atmospheric ambience to 80s drum sequence loops”, the group says that their latest songs come from the dark place Barr is almost known for and showcase the band’s perfect blend of natural and synthetic sounds.
The Last Year’s EP has been warmly received by fans and critics alike, especially lead single "Sugar", a tune that bridges the gap between the darkness of Joy Division and the infectious, radio-friendly indie rock hooks of bands like The Temper Trap; spicing it all up with female leading vocals that wouldn't feel out of place on a Garbage record. “Sugar” is currently receiving spins on HFS 97.5 Baltimore's Rock Alternative, Baltimore’s 98 Rock, 98.7 WTMD, Phoenix’s KWSS 93.9, and SiriusXM’s Alt Nation.