State Theatre Portland
Pepper, Less Than Jake

St. Pauli presents

Pepper

Less Than Jake

The Bunny Gang, The Attack

Wed, February 15, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

State Theatre

Portland, ME

$25 Advance / $30 Day of Show

This event is all ages

Buy tickets in person at the Port City Music Hall box office (504 Congress Street) Wednesday-Friday 10AM-5PM, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online right here. State Theatre box office will open one hour before doors night of show.

Pepper
Pepper
“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done as a band to make this record,” says guitarist/vocalist Kaleo Wassman of Pepper, in speaking on the recording process of their new self-titled album. “It speaks loudly and widely to a broader audience while maintaining everything good about the band, which, first of all, is our positive attitude.” After releasing five albums, Pepper has opened a new chapter in their storied career. Drummer Yesod Williams adds, “This record feels very cohesive in a way our past releases maybe didn’t. I think it’s an album that can appeal to everyone, as well. We’ve been pigeonholed in the past so this is an opportunity to transcend all that and spread our wings even wider.”

The trio, who formed in 1997 and moved to the mainland from their hometown of Kailua Kona, Hawaii in 1999, pressed pause after the release of their fifth album, Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations, in 2008. There was a sense of fatigue and disunity amongst the three musicians, who took some time off from music both apart and together before rejoining to create an EP, Stiches, in late 2010. The songs on that release re-energized the group, revealing an urgent desire to make a new album that reflected where they are in their lives and career now. After some tour dates in support of the EP, Pepper sat down and focused on their sixth album, a self-titled released that swings open the door on this new chapter.

The musicians went into the studio with Matt Wallace, a producer known for his work with Maroon 5, O.A.R. and Faith No More, in early 2012. Matt helped focus the group’s vision and expand their musical knowledge base, an experience the band members compare to being in their own version of college. The album was recorded in various studios over the course of a year, honing in on Pepper’s re-defined self-identity and how that focus was reflected in the songs.

“We learned so much,” Yesod says. “Matt help us really focus on the art of songwriting. He sat in the room with the three of us with a fine-tooth comb and went over every word, every melody, every sound. He showed us that it’s important what you do play as well as what you don’t play, creating both spaces in the songs. We learned how powerful simplicity can be. Plus, we had such a good time recording this album and I think that shows.”

The resulting album, self-titled to accentuate where the band feels they are presently, broadens Pepper’s style, veering into new sonic territory while still retaining all the fun elements that make the band so beloved by their fans. The ever-present sense of life surges through the tracks, bolstering the sense of optimism throughout. The party anthems, the beach hang melodies, and the boisterous rhythms are all there, each song carefully crafted to best express these sunny moments by the ocean.

“This album is basically 12 snapshots of where we are,” vocalist/bassist Bret Bollinger says. “There are songs that will remind you of your favorite Pepper songs, but by the end you’ll hear some unexpected things. You’ll realize that the songwriting is so much more refined. And there’s laughter in the background of the songs. That’s how good the vibe is on the record.”

Pepper has toured extensively with groups like 311, Slightly Stoopid, Flogging Molly and Sublime With Rome, and spent several summers on Warped Tour – and this live sensibility shows. You can almost feel the sand in your toes and the sun on your back as the album progresses, the musician’s amiable personalities palpable beneath the island rhythms and mellow tones. The band’s music – both live and on their releases – is really about enjoying life and being grateful for each experience, a sensibility that’s very familiar to the three musicians currently in their career. From their 1999 debut Give’n It to their 2006 standout album No Shame, which was recorded with 311’s Nick Hexum, No Doubt’s Tony Kanal and Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary, Pepper has embodied not only a style of music but a lifestyle, one that’s most easily found on beaches across the world, but also one that’s relatable to anyone anywhere.

Released via their own label LAW Records, their universal appeal has led their music being placed in various movies and TV shows, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Good Luck Chuck, as well as several video game soundtracks. The band’s story to date has been a prolific one. But as Pepper turns the page into a fresh chapter with this new album, it’s clear that the band’s passion for music and life will continue on for years to come.

“We’re so blessed to be in this position,” Kaleo says. “We want to do the best we can with it. We had humble beginnings in our small town in Hawaii and we’re still that same humble band. We don’t take any of this lightly. Every day I wake up and think about how I have the best job in the world. The level of gratitude and happiness I have that we’re able to do this is incredible and I hope people can hear that when they listen to our new songs.”
Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake are back! “But they never went anywhere,” you protest. Well reader, in that sense you are correct. But this fall they’re not only serving up their first full-length in five years, but—after more than two decades together—also embracing a total back to basics approach.

Throughout a career that has run the gamut from self-releases and small indie imprints to large independent labels and major music conglomerates, the band has always been more than the sum of its parts. Now more than ever, though, they espouse their stature as a DIY collective that works together—or at least in tandem with a few trusted allies—on every element of their creative output. Drummer Vinnie Fiorello recalls, “We started out very internal, and nowadays we handle a lot internally again.”

The result of their old school approach is the old school sound of See The Light, created without any external meddling from corporate lackeys. “Everyone had their alone time with chords and some quick structures; we all put our ideas down before we got together,” says Vinnie. “Then we sat at an octagon table in our warehouse and went through: this is what we think about this song, maybe we should do it ska, maybe we should do it punk—true band songwriting in essence.”

Not only was the songwriting a true group effort, but—like the three EPs the band have released since 2008’s long-player GNV FLA—so was the actual recording of See The Light, which was tracked entirely at Gainesville’s The Moathouse, owned by LTJ bassist Roger Lima, who took lead production duties with communal input and assistance from his four band mates and live sound engineer.

“Roger has been recording our demos since the beginning of the band and steadily has worked his way up learning about studios from everyone we’ve worked with in the past,” says trombone player Buddy Schaub. With no ticking clock and no studio fees piling up, the band used their breathing room to create somewhat of a rarity in today’s prefab music world: a full-length album that gels as a complete thought, lyrically and musically. Buddy adds, “I think this is one of the closest representations of our band to date. We’re all really excited for this record to get out into the world and we can’t wait to hear what people think!”

Like 2000’s release Borders and Boundaries, the new record was mixed at the famed Blasting Room by punk rock legend Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore, but don’t let that lead you to believe that there’s anything same-ish about See The Light. “If you’re expecting retreads and repeats, this record will disappoint,” exclaims Roger. “It’s all new songs and new vibes only recorded in our old school way.”

While some other bands of a certain vintage are latching onto musical trends, you won’t find any dubstep beats or vocoder distortion on See The Light—a title that nods to the band, history of marrying dark lyrical content (the tunnel) to bouncy musical arrangements (the light at the end). Less Than Jake aren’t turning away from their roots, and echoing Mark Twain, Fiorello points out that the rumors regarding their genre, demise are greatly exaggerated: “Punk has been declared dead every year for 30+ years and it’s still going stronger than ever. People like to declare things dead just because it’s dead to them, but if bands are passionate about what they’re doing, they’ll attract fans who are passionate.”

As fits a band born long enough ago to now be of legal drinking age, Less Than Jake pulls in a multi-generational audience, which Vinnie notes is often a family affair. “Our crowd now is 16 to 40, and I’ve met kids as young as eight or nine. Dads bring their sons and it’s a weird rite of passage; moms bring kids in saying, ‘We’ve watched you guys for 15 years.’ But will the band stick around long enough to draw in a third generation of fans? “I don’t know man. I think our guys on that would be NOFX and Bad Religion. When you see Fat Mike or Bad Religion hang it up, maybe: but like them, we’re gonna ride that out. “We’re glad to be along for the ride. Hop on board when See The Light sees the light on November 12!
The Bunny Gang
Nathen Maxwell has the word Revolution tattooed prominently on his left wrist. However, It's more than just a word for The Bunny Gang frontman and Flogging Molly bassist.

"It's a sign of what time it is," he affirms. "Revolution must be peaceful, nonviolent, and conscious. I think it can mean something different to everybody though. There can be a million interpretations, and that's the wonderful thing about it."

The Bunny Gang's sophomore full-length "Thrive" stands built on creative revolution. Transcending musical boundaries, The Bunny Gang organically strut between alternative, folk, punk, and reggae. Following up 2009′s acclaimed White Rabbit, It's a tight and thought-provoking combination that makes for an irresistible sonic brew.

In order to stir up the eleven songs comprising the album, the gang retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX with producer Ryan Hewitt [Sheryl Crow, The Avett Brothers]. Tapping into an indescribable chemistry, the entire offering was cut in less than a week.

"The bands name comes from a punk rock crew I grew up with in the South Bay of Los Angeles called The Original Bunny Gang or OBG PUNX. After playing with several great musicians, including my father Maxwell and my first ever bandmate Mike Peralta, in 2012, I met an amazing hearted and like- minded human being in Nat Lort-Nelson. He was the glue. There's a deep history, and we share a philosophical outlook. We believe art should say something."

That's exactly what songs like the first single, "Sirens Through City," do. Co-written with Scott Abels (Jimmy Cliff, The Aggrolites, Tim Armstrong & numerous other acclaimed artists) the song skates from a soulful riff into a poetic melody, it's a personal and poignant rumination from the singer. He also encloses a hopeful message inside of the track.

"I wrote that song when I was living in Harbor City, which is a rough town in South Los Angeles," he recalls. "I was literally sitting on the corner and hearing police sirens every night. At the same time, it's a song of hope and making it out of the ghetto and thriving. If people could dream bigger and step outside of their bubble, they'd realize the world is a beautiful place."

Elsewhere on the record, the energetic "Uprise Underground" appeals to revolutionaries everywhere, urging an awakening, while questioning the status quo. The Bunny Gangthen floats down the river on "Illegal Market" co-written with Dennis Casey (Flogging Molly). This is an iridescent jam that showcases the bands love of Cumbia as well as a cry for social equality.

Ultimately, anybody who takes this ride with The Bunny Gang will feel that progression. "Life, art, and music are all evolution," he concludes. It sounds like revolution is just up head for The Bunny Gang.
The Attack
The Attack
Classic, face-smashing, broken bottle punk is all but lost on the Pitchfork-worshipping, women's jeans-wearing masses whose idea of youth rebellion is going to see American Idiot on Broadway. Well, with that being said, allow yourself to feel the old school fury of the Attack. Formed by Charlie Bender, one-time frontman for the Orlando, Florida-based ska band the Spitvalves, and his partner in the acclaimed screen printing company Enemy Ink, Brad Palkevich, on guitar alongside bassist Mikey Cortes and drummer Tito Esquiaqui, this quartet delivers the kind of vintage melodic hardcore that will take true punkers right back to the days of CBGB's Sunday matinees on Of Nostalgia and Rebellion, a self-released call-to-arms featuring 12 tracks loaded with punishing breakdowns, gang-style singalongs, and riffs as crushing as a curb sandwich. Fans of the Cro-Mags, Lifetime, and Agnostic Front will certainly relish in the rage of such key tracks as "Prove It", "Matters", and an incendiary cover of CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" that just might prove John Fogerty had roots in punk rock after all.
Venue Information:
State Theatre
609 Congress St
Portland, ME, 04101
http://www.statetheatreportland.com/