In Like Lions is a rock band from Boston, MA that embodies their name. They want to bust in here and show you what they do. They are very excited about coming to Utica for this festival, and they are thoughtful about their reasoning. They have no association to our area. They don’t know anyone who has ever been to Utica. But they are ready to make some connections and have some fun and have you talking about them when they leave. They’re good with the ‘behind the back’ thing, as long as you’re real nice! I don’t think that’s going to be at all difficult for you.
“We are a group of guys who try to leave it all onstage.”
Dave Bates, the drummer of the band, described the pending fest experience (their first festival to date!) as a “true test” of their appeal because the audience is a fresh pool who has no ties back to them either. I think that’s a great way to look at showing up in a new place! We are all such slaves to the ‘draw’ in this industry and the expectation that we will have a full room to play to somehow by magic or divine intervention. In fact, a blank slate is a great way to burst into the consciousness on the back of your talent. No sweat, for In Like Lions.
They recently headlined Church in Boston, where they have a standing reputation for packing the place to capacity. “They give us a date and let us fill the bill! The crowd is a range of people from 21-40, some serious characters, some college kids, some smell weird, some give more hi-fives than necessary, lots of girls, and a bunch of guys. It’s an eclectic crowd! The experience is great though because we are in charge of how things run during the show. The bands help each other set up and break down, share equipment, and psych each other up before sets! ” This is all good news, Utica. This is a group of big picture viewers, and that’s part of what the UMAF is about.
“We are losing sleep in anticipation.”
Since you know I’ll try to describe this to you, I’m going to get down to that. I hate to immediately compare an indie band to another, national act. I think it is insulting and lazy. However, this is going to be a compliment. If you like Kings of Leon, you’re going to like In Like Lions. Frankly, because they just might be better. There is a distinct soulfulness to Troy Ramey’s vocal at all times that creates a slightly blusey quality to the overall affect while still being perfectly understandable. The music is American rock music to a T. There is no gimmick. There is a skillful energetic guitar that has a particularly great rock tone in the solos (James Bridges), smartly written songs with good lyrics about all of the things you deal with in your life. The drummer (Dave Bates) is also smart and like clockwork, doing a lot of interesting fills. They can groove, too! Dave Kauffman keeps a steady rumble of backbone support. There are a lot of shades to this band, and I like every one of them. “At Night” is a *killer* song and should be on the radio yesterday. Maybe last week. Email your local stations about this. This guy’s voice! I have to nod to “Leave It Up to California” also. A great piece of work that features a lot of shifting rhythmic flavor. I predict several of the bands coming this year will burst onto the national scene should they choose to go that route, and this one is included in that hit list for me.
You can listen to At Night here:
They offered to buy you shots. Do not abuse this privilege, beautiful people! But do go up and chat nicely with them after their set. They welcome this, and you are all nice people! If not, you are going to have to pretend. We’re going for an overall vibe here. Maybe you should buy them one for rocking your soul and rolling your hips. They didn’t say if they come back, they said WHEN. If you tell two friends and they tell two friends…we can all rip off that shampoo commercial together- partners in crime type bonding.
They’ve checked out the bill, and figured out a few artists they are excited to see. “To be honest, we went down the list and picked bands with names we liked and checked it out. Forget Paris sounds pretty high energy, Clounds Make Sounds are gonna be great for curing some hangovers, our guitar player is from Winslow Maine so we are gonna check out Winslow’s set, AZitiZ from New Orleans sounds pretty sick…like a female B.I.G.” Allow me to say, these are excellent descriptions of these artists and this is another really good sign that In Like Lions has their act together.
Merch! You can get their EP at the festival shows as well as download cards they anticipate will open the door to a download of their new single from the upcoming album. Their drummer designs the t-shirts with stencils and spray paint! They are each an original hand done work! How fun is that for a music and arts festival?
You should catch this band, and the smart festival planners have given you two chances!
Friday September 16 @ Nail Creek Pub and Brewery
Saturday September 17 @ Blu [This new venue is one to watch this year!]
(time details forthcoming)
The best way to find them on the web is to start at their website, which has links to all other pages and mentions
In Like Lions