Crobot, Lionize, Bowhead




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

7:00 pm

Saint Vitus


Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

You can't help but feel that your ears are being dipped in nostalgia then taken to another dimension and back again with the songs of Crobot. This Central Pennsylvanian quartet conjures up sonic ghosts and stories that seemingly were interpreted from crop circles with their 2012 self-released debut album, The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer. The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer , recorded before the Figueroa brothers were in the band, seamlessly manages to capture the powerful packed punch of the vocals of lead singer Brandon Yeagley and head bobbing guitar riffs of Chris Bishop. With the crucial additions of Jake Figueroa’s solidity of the low frequencies on bass guitar perfectly accompanying his brother with sticks of thunder, Paul Figueroa on drums Crobot has found the formula to take them into the riff-rock abyss and beyond. Crobot is getting ready to hit the studio with famed producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes) to work on their 2014 Wind-up Records debut release.
You might think the band members were all stationed at the same moon base during
the interstellar revolution but the cosmic forces that brought the foursome together
began when Brandon, who hails from the coal-regions of Central Pennsylvania, and
Bishop, from Eastern Tennessee, met through a band audition. After calling it quits only
a month into forming, Brandon and Bishop were left
with merely pieces of a band and
an unsatisfied quench for the elixir of the nomadic life of rock ‘n roll....and thus the
origins of Crobot began. As Brandon transitioned from bass player to full blown front
man he combined his soaring vocals with
killer guitar riffs and the two set out
build a band based on the music they genuinely loved to play.
It was at Bar 46 in Hackettstown, NJ where Paul and Jake, who were living upstairs at
the time, heard the sonic pleasures that would alter time and space forever. “I heard
Brandon's voice,” said Paul. “Even through the muffled din of the bar below, his voice
had so much clarity and presence that I knew I would be foolish if I didn't at least check
them out. Once I heard Bishop shredding nasty riffs and saw Brandon twisting and
gyrating like a possessed astral gypsy my mind melted...I had a new favorite band.”
For Paul and Jake what happened next was somewhat serendipitous. Having grown
tired of the local scene, the brothers were getting ready to leave the East Coast for Los
Angeles to try their luck out there....then the phone rang. Paul remembers, “
about a
week before we were going to move, Bishop called and asked us to join Crobot. Instead
of LA, we moved to PA and haven't looked back (or west...)” Five days later the newly
formed foursome was playing their first gig of many at the very same bar where Paul
first heard those mind-altering riffs. Crobot had officially landed.
According to legend, Crobot got their name from their penchant for jamming “Crobar- esque” riffs with low robotic octave effects, but if you ask Brandon, Crobot has evolved into more than that. “It’s become a counter-culture, so-to-speak. With so much emphasis on manufacturing, in terms of looks, sounds, and sights, Crobot is a collection of like-minded and like-bearded individuals who stand for neither going against the grain or with it, but avoiding shaving all together.”
Crobot’s approach to songwriting has evolved from Brandon and Bishop’s creations into a group effort. Most of the time, Bishop will come to the band with a riff or a loose song structure that they'll jam to, part by part, until they’re feeling it. “I'll improvise some melody lines over the parts usually after the band finds solid ground, enough to jam through,” says Brandon. “We try to take everything to every perspective that we can, whether they’re in fact our perspectives or created ones. The music usually gives me a great sense of the direction of the lyrics. Sometimes influenced by old horror/sci-fi flicks I’ve watched as a child, literary works I have or have not read, or the sheer randomness that happens by simply hanging out with this crazy bunch of bots. Whether it’s into orbit, through a wormhole, or at the bottom of an empty bottle of some sort-of elixir, the music really does the work.”
With killer live shows described by Brandon as “like lighting a quarter stick of dynamite and throwing it in an un-flushed toilet,” what’s next for Crobot? With breakout live performances at SXSW 2013, Milwaukee Summerfest, Jersey Shore Music Festival, Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA), and a national tour with Clutch and The Sword kicking off 2014, the possibilities for Crobot’s interstellar domination are endless.
Washington D.C. is chiefly considered for its political climate. It’s easy to forget that this city has spawned some of the most diverse, fiery sounds in modern music. It’s a cornerstone in a region that’s integrated rock, hardcore punk, reggae and more through the likes of Bad Brains, Fugazi and Clutch, and where Latin and funk fused to form the vibrant sound of go-go music. And in its suburbs, four guys – aka Lionize – have been stirring up this heavy, colorful cocktail with a profoundly creative approach, an arsenal of tasty, bluesy hooks and a tone of sci-fi-infused lyrics. 
Over the years, Lionize have cultivated a unique blend of funky riffs, cyborg tales and soulful rock sensibilities. From the beginning, with 2005’s Danger My Dear, they were pushing boundaries. In 2008 they recorded second album, Space Pope And The Glass Machine, at Harry J Studios in Jamaica – where Bob Marley made several records. By the time the propulsive Jetpack Soundtrack was released (in 2014) they’d streamlined all this experience into an original, more-ish rock whole. Now, with their new LP (title TBA), they’re raising the bar again with their most fearless, expansive-sounding songs yet. 
As singer/guitarist Nate Bergman tells us: “It [the music] has elements of bands like Clutch and Deep Purple, but it’s not quite that – it’s something all its own. I think the beauty of the band right now is that all these elements touch on something familiar, but also sound new.”
The Lionize story begins in Silver Spring, Maryland, where Bergman, keyboardist Chris Brooks and bassist Henry ‘Hank’ Upton met as teenagers in middle school. By high school they’d become firm friends, bonding over a shared appreciation of their local music scene, as well as a healthy dose of classic staples from Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, to Parliament and Motown. In 2004 they formed Lionize, completed by drummer Chase Lapp in 2013. 
Along the way, they’ve enthralled audiences at festivals including Red Rocks and Desert Fest, and on tour with The Wailers, Clutch and others. Support slots with Bad Brains and Steel Pulse also earned them kudos as a ‘reggae rock' group – as did their stint with dub/reggae icon Lee Scratch Pretty. In truth, however, Lionize were always about much more than that. Now, signed to New York’s The End Records, the band are taking a fresh look at their sound. Cut at the Magpie Cage studio and The Lion’s Den, MD, the new album was co-produced with the band by J.Robbins and (Clutch drummer) Jean Paul Gaster. No tricks – just a liberated, highly driven set of tunes.

In writing and road testing the album the band aimed to redefine what it means to be a classic sounding rock’n’roll band. Thematically, they also harnessed the present political climate to powerful effect. Opener Darkest Timeline is at once fiercely groovy and evocative of social disenchantment, while Blindness To Danger closes the album with a propulsive bang. Tracks like Power Grid Blues evoke a turbocharged Deep Purple, if they’d spent time in soul bands. Fire In Athena starts softly before growing into an emotive call to arms. And Ain’t It A Shame stirs blues, reggae hints and Santana-esque guitar into one passionate declaration. Familiar but new, as Bergman says.
“We had no rules or ideals,” he continues. “We just wanted to take people on a musical journey that excited them, and showed how emotionally moving the band could be.”
Ultimately this is Lionize at their most stadium-ready – without compromising on soul, sass or substance. It’s that wonderful space where vintage style and contemporary fire collide.
(Written by: Polly Glass)
Lionize is:
Chris Brooks (keys)
Henry Upton (bass)
Chase Lapp (drums)
Nate Bergman (lead vocals, guitar)
Old friends crossing path again in a noisy heavy rock realm. Members of: SKELPTARSIS, PHOBIA, FINAL CONFLICT, BABY TEARDROPS, LABRETTA SUEDE & THE MOTEL 6, KRAUT (ex- SLEEP TO DEATH).
Venue Information:
Saint Vitus
1120 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11222