I spent this Valentine’s Day with my first and only true love: rock and roll. More specifically high energy rock and roll that makes anyone with a soul flail themselves into like-minded, carefree individuals. But on this special day, not just any outfit with a reverb pedal and leather jackets would suffice, I needed the best that Cleveland has to offer. Over some complimentary chips and salsa, I sat down with the incredibly cheerful members of Slug Fest.
Slug Fest, which is two words unless you want to listen to a band from the ’90s that no longer exists, is an eighteen-month-old, surf-influenced garage rock band. They have been playing live shows around the city for about a year now.
The band has put out a couple of releases over their time together, the latest of which is titled Singles and is a compilation of recordings they have done over the past six months, half of which are tracks recorded at Lakewood’s Golden Ox studio and the other half recorded on WRUW’s Live From Cleveland.
The members of the band exude infectious laughter and a general sense of comfort and friendship. This comes out in the music naturally and effortlessly.
Guitarist/Singer Michael Stanis keeps the songs simple and catchy, but never impedes on the full groups abundance of raw energy. The simplicity is complemented perfectly by the no frills bass lines of Diedre McCafferty. The mostly clean guitars are heavily frosted with the shake of reverb tanks as are Stanis’ vocals. This band is not an effect however, these songs would be just as good stripped down to bare bones and yelled at the top of their lungs on a street corner. The band does a lot of group vocals throughout Singles, which surely helps their mission to be the funnest band in Cleveland and maybe some day the universe.
When we weren’t swapping skateboarding stories and drinking margaritas, we mulled over the future plans for the band which involve playing as many shows as possible and planning their first tour.
“We’ve played with so many bands and we know that our friends like us, so I just want to get out there and see what everyone thinks,” drummer Michael Luciano explains with a very excitable grin on his face.
There is a new confidence flowing through the band regarding their live performances. “We actually tell people when we’re playing now,” bassist Diedre McCafferety honestly and proudly admits.
Stanis adds, “We want people to see us live, that is where we are happiest and most comfortable.”
Your next opportunity to catch Slug Fest about town will be April 14 at the Mahall’s locker room (downstairs) with Smut and Tweens.
The energy and oozing positivity of these two guys and one gal made my Valentine’s Day burst with love, as it damn well should. In order to soak up more of their on-top-of-the-world attitudes, I asked them what they’ve been listening to lately:
Michael Luciano (Drums): Surfer Blood // Pythons
Michael Stanis (Guitar/vocals): Anything by Thee Oh Sees
Diedre McCafferety (Bass): Against Me! // “Reinventing Axl Rose”
To listen to Singles, open a new tab on your browser and punch in the secret code slug-fest.bandcamp.com or facebook.com/slugfesttheband. For any merchandise needs send the band a message and they will personally drop that swag off to you. Please enjoy responsibly.