Upon entering Mojoes of Joliet on December 5th, I approached the stage to find pop/rock six-piece Rodeo Ruby Love opening the night with confidence to a full house. With catchy hooks and feel-good tracks that make you want to shuffle your feet, I highly recommend looking them up and giving them a listen. Check out their songs "Secrets" and "A Small House in the City."
Reel Big Fish, the always-entertaining and very fashionable ska vets, put on a high energy performance leaving the crowd sweaty and exhausted after non-stop dancing. With a set-list comprised of hits like "Trendy," "She Has a Girlfriend Now," and "Where Have You Been?" the entire crowd was singing along and having a great time. RBF is the kind of timeless group that kids and their parents can enjoy, but not necessarily together, because what high-school freshman wants to go to a show with their parents? None. Exactly.
Later, when headliners Streetlight Manifesto took the stage it was as if all hell had broken lose. Choosing to open with intense "Watch it Crash," the entire crowd went completely haywire. For once, I was glad that I wasn't down in the crowd because I probably would have died. Watching safely from the second floor, I could see how insane the crowd was down below, dancing and singing along to every track.
A variety of songs from each of their albums were showcased that evening, including: "A Moment of Silence," from 2003's Everything Goes Numb; "We Will Fall Together," off of 2007's Somewhere in the Between; and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," one of their covers from 2010's concept album 99 Songs of Revolution: Vol 1.
After the stage-diving had ceased, rowdy kids from the crowd quit trying to fight security, and kids began to file out of the venue, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Lionize. These guys played second, and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Going into this show, I honestly did not know what to expect. I only had a small idea of what they sounded like, and not much information on what they were all about.
First of all, let me tell you that Nate Bergman's vocals blew me away, you don't hear a voice like this often. Admittedly, I enjoyed this band more live than I did when I listened to their recordings. They have a certain presence on stage that took hold of me. During the interview, Bergman shared that he is self-taught mostly due to, "A lot of years of losing my voice and doing it completely incorrectly." The pain paid off. Bergman's vocals, mixed with strong instrumentals give Lionize a sound that one second resembles 70's rock, and the next incorporates reggae beats.
With the 2011 Vans Warped Tour under their belts, a new album they got to record in Jamaica which is now available online and in stores everywhere, and this current winter tour under way, talk of a 2012 tour is circulating. Sadly, I am sworn to secrecy of any details. Sorry, kiddos! Keep an eye out for Lionize when they pass through your city and pick up their new album Superczar and the Vulture.