The Band of Heathens

98.3 The Penguin & Huka Entertainment Present

The Band of Heathens

L Shape Lot

Fri. June 23, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Throne Theater

Wilmington, NC

$15-$35

This event is all ages

The Band of Heathens
The Band of Heathens
duende – [duen-de] (noun) 1. a quality of inspiration and passion 2. A heightened sense of emotion, expression and authenticity 3. a spirit

Duende, the title of The Band of Heathens' fifth studio album (and eighth overall), marks their tenth anniversary as a group, and it certainly applies to its overall theme about the collective search for connection and communion in a technology-fueled world increasingly splintered, distracted and lonely. As band co-founder Ed Jurdi, who first learned of the term, explains, "It's the essence of the artist," or as partner Gordy Quist says, "It's a word we don't have an equivalent for in English, Artistically, that's where we tried to set the bar, to do what this band does best."

Indeed, Duende lives up to those high ideals, a stylistically diverse effort that takes a leap beyond their last, more acoustic, introspective effort, 2013's Sunday Morning Record, with an eclectic batch of material that shows where The Band of Heathens has been, but more importantly, where they are going.

There are high-energy rockers like the Keith Richards-Chuck Berry guitars and barrelhouse piano in "Trouble Came Early" as well as the Grateful Dead-by-way-of J.J. Cale Oklahoma boogie in "Keys to the Kingdom," and the New Riders pedal steel country twang of "Green Grass of California," an ode to the more potent strains of sensimilla on the dispensary shelf and a fervent plea to "legalize it."

Duende also touches on some of The Band of Heathens' favorite topics, from the sacrifices of a life lived on the road ("All I'm Asking") to the limits of materialism ("Keys to the Kingdom"), social media absorption ("Cracking the Code"), and a moving depiction of Mexican immigration in an age of increased discrimination ("Road Dust Wheels").

Thematically, Quist's "Cracking the Code" comes closest to reiterating the album's desire to reconsider the value of relationships and priorities in a world of virtual reality and social media. "While modern technology has certainly allowed us to stay in touch over vast distances – something a band that lives on the road certainly appreciates – it doesn't really provide the authentic connection we crave," says Gordy. "We've created a portal through which we lose ourselves and miss what's really going on right in front of us, hiding the fact our supposed connected culture can be a really lonely place."

"I feel the album brings together all our influences, everything we've done over the years as a band," explains Jurdi. "We've touched on every part of our career… our roots, some singer/songwriter contemplative stuff, some high-energy rock 'n' roll. It's all us, the record we were supposed to make. Ten years later, that's what keeps us coming back."

Engineer/co-producer Jim Vollentine (Spoon, White Rabbits, …And You'll Know Us by the Trail of Dead) helped the album's diversity sound coherent, adding unique touches such as mellotron and drum machines to the loping rockabilly of tracks like "All I'm Asking."

The term "Americana" was practically invented to describe The Band of Heathens' approach, which has mutated almost as much as the genre to which they're identified. And while the Rolling Stones and The Beatles remain touchstones on songs like "Sugar Queen" and "Deep Is Love," respectively, influences as diverse as Sly and the Family Stone (in the psychedelic fuzz-tones of "Daddy Long Legs") and Latin music ("Road Dust Wheels") also rear their heads. Literary inspirations also come into play, ranging from a character in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar depicted in as a strutting cougar in "Sugar Queen" ("She even talks dirty/When she's on her knees to pray") to Tom Standage's A History of the World in Six Glasses, which recounts how beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola have shaped culture and civilization to modern times ("Trouble Came Early").

Duende is The Band of Heathens playing to their strengths, unapologetically constructed as an old-school 10-track, two-sided vinyl album (which it will be released as, with a second disc encompassing four songs from their Green Grass EP released earlier this year).

With Duende, the proof is in the results. Let them change your mind.
L Shape Lot
Mixing a healthy amount of musical chops, honest, and creative songwriting, powerful stage presence and well sung four-part harmonies, L Shape Lot creates an original and dynamic Americana sound based in country, rock, bluegrass, and roots/folk music. Their lively sound explores new ground, while still paying homage to their predecessors. L Shape Lot is from Wilmington, NC and consists of four members: Eric Miller (Acoustic guitar, vocals), Alex Lanier (electric, acoustic guitar, vocals) Rick Williams ( 6 string electric bass, upright bass, vocals) and John Kovalski (drums, vocals).

Their high-energy live shows have become a hot ticket at both night clubs and music festivals of all types. This group of veteran musicians has been perfecting their sound for over 10 years. Its genesis was the steady train-like acoustic guitar layered over a sturdy country/bluegrass rhythm section with Eric Miller's booming baritone roots vocals. But it came into full bloom when Alex Lanier brought his blistering proficiency on both acoustic guitar and a Fender Telecaster to the mix. In 2009, the band completed their second full-length studio release, Looks Like Snow, and earned excellent press and numerous honors including Encore Magazine's Best Band and The Beat Magazine's Best Country Band. In 2011, L Shape Lot was invited to perform in the prestigious Under the Radar Series at Virginia's Floydfest. They were voted winners of the competition and will be returning for a performance on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage at Floydfest XI in July 2012.

So what can you expect at a live L Shape Lot performance? Expect to hear music ranging from solid originals to classic country, to traditional bluegrass, to unique blends of all genres. Expect to dance even if you aren't good at it. Expect knowledge of and respect for multiple musical genres and a passion for weaving them together. Expect to see four gentlemen with the utmost dedication to professionalism and showmanship having the time of their lives and doing their best to make sure that their audience does the same.
Venue Information:
The Throne Theater
208 Market St
Wilmington, NC, 28401