Opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd last month is only a small portion of the story. This band is able to turn on a dime, and delights in doing so frequently. If they've seemed quiet in the jam scene this year, it's because they have been busy exploring other territories. In one short year, their style has come full circle. Shifting from a period of concise songwriting and shorter sets to what some might recognize as a return to their Wetlands approach, they have proved consistent in their aim to deliver powerful and artistic rock and roll. The bottom line is, RANA plans to finish their landmark year in style - headlining CBGB's on New Years Eve for the second consecutive year.

After performing at Austin's famed South by Southwest in March, the band met up with former REM drummer Bill Berry in Athens, GA to record new tracks. With Berry as producer and Athens' cornerstone engineer John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic) behind the console, RANA pumped out an album's worth of music in two weekends down south. Upon hearing these new 'demo' tracks, the office of Howard Dean called on RANA to play a rally for the Democratic Presidential hopeful at Irving Plaza. All the while touring the country with their unique eclectic rock style (think Ween meets Camper Van Beethoven with echoes of Talking Heads), RANA continued to build a loyal following of rock and jam fans alike. They have shared the stage with the likes of Chris Robinson, Umphrey's McGee, Ween, Gov't Mule, and Steve Garvey of the Buzzcocks. Their post Ween/Widespread Panic show at Tobacco Road on November 1 had as many Ween fans as Widespread Panic fans; the sold out crowd had RANA in common. They included several tracks from this show on the recent live release Subject to Change. The band received a surprise phone call to open for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Hammerstein Ballroom last month. "We were asleep when the first call came... but there we were, five hours later, playing to the rowdiest rock crowd there is – opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd."

RANA will cap off this amazing year with their second annual New Years Eve at CBGB concert. Moonraker will join them on the bill. Tickets are available online at Ticketweb or RANArock.com.

Tad Babbitt
JamBase | New York
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[Published on: 12/7/03]

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