hi8us plays a brand of rock-and-roll they call Groove Pop. A four-piece band from Boston, their music is focused on the craft of songwriting, blending lush vocal harmonies with bass-driven, soulful grooves, all served up with an unmistakable pop appeal.
With the release of their first full-length album, The Superficial Deep, hi8us has truly solidified and defined their unique musical angle. Coincidentally, the official album release party took place on 8/8/08, and was the kickoff show for the “hi8us 8/08 International Tour,” which takes them through 13 cities in the US and Canada in 16 days. Along with return trips to some of their favorite destinations from the 2006 tour, such as San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Jackson, hi8us is making their debut appearances in Las Vegas, Toronto, Boulder, Park City and elsewhere.
So, in the past year, Jim Chekos (guitar/vocals) became obsessed with Pinback’s Summer in Abaddon album for about four months while two-timing with The Promise Ring’s most recent release, wood/water, which saw heavy rotation during that same period. Max Monaco (drums) recently acquired a new turntable and has been revisiting the extensive funk/boogaloo/jazz LP collection he amassed while scowering the Pioneer Valley flea market scene during his time out in Amherst around the turn of the century. It has been noted that Mike Rakusin (keyboards/sax/vocals) has had the Action Figure Party’s self-titled debut album playing in his iPod when he’s not out hustling in the Tuesday night Boston karaoke scene. Colin Ovitsky (bass) has been spending hours and hours in the gym. He says nothing gets him more pumped up to push through that final set more than Curtis Mayfield’s 1978 release, Do It All Night, and then pretty much anything by Stevie Wonder after that.
hi8us certainly keeps a busy schedule, playing regularly throughout New England and New York. Luckily, they all share a work ethic that allows it to happen. During their first full national tour in the summer of 2006, the band hit 14 cities in 17 days, playing their way out across the country, through California, then along a roundabout path back towards the Northeast. Before that, other highlights include a set at the 2003 Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, touring down the East Coast during the Blue Island Tour in March 2004, a two-set show during JazzFest 2005 in New Orleans, and opening up for several national acts (Soulive, Steve Kimock Band, The Samples, Ryan Montbleau and Mofro, to name a few) in Boston and New York.
Marking a milestone moment for this dedicated quartet, and demonstrating a defined growth in their songwriting and stylistic definition since the earliest incarnations of the band at UMass-Amherst in the late ’90s, the release of The Superficial Deep and the international tour in support of the new album are sure to put hi8us on the map.
The String Cheese Incident kicked off a two-night stand at the Fox Theater in St. Louis by dusting off covers by Traffic, Led Zeppelin and Billie Joe Shaver.
Phil Lesh & Friends kicked off a two-night stand at Terrapin Crossroads with a lineup that includes moe. guitarist Al Schnier and North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther and Cody Dickinson – watch full show video.
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A free webcast of this weekend’s SweetWater 420 Fest will feature performances from Widespread Panic, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and more.
Listen to “Krewe,” the first single from Lettuce’s forthcoming ‘Elevate’ album and see where the band will play this fall.
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters performed with Nick Mason at the Beacon Theatre on Thursday night.