BALLYHOO! and PASSAFIRE
w/ Bumpin Uglies and Joint Operation
Thursday April 13th | Baltimore Soundstage
Throw rock, reggae, punk, and pop into a blender, power it up and you get Ballyhoo!, acclaimed by fans to be “America’s-Favorite-Feel-Good-Party-Band.” It’s hard to argue with the masses, but these road-warriors have tirelessly toured to bring their music to the people. Between the road and the studio, Ballyhoo! has crafted a sound distinctly their own; fresh, fun, and embodied by the soul of the party lifestyle. Lead singer and guitarist, Howi Spangler, has a reputation for mixing slick lyrics with his smooth but powerful voice. Drummer Donald “Big D” Spangler lays out the hard-hitting beats, which are underlined by JR Gregory’s funky and witty bass lines. Scott Vandrey (aka DJ Blaze) rounds it out on the turntables and keys.
BALLYHOO!’s unique sound, hardcore devotion to the road and their fans has pitched them into snowballing success. After concluding the Last Calls and Liabilities tour with respected contemporaries, Pepper, they were honored with being included on the ever-popular 2011 Hollister Holiday Playlist. Ballyhoo! has toured with a myriad of the genre’s biggest names; Authority Zero, The Expendables, 311, and The Supervillains. In Jan 2011, they got a well-deserved nod from LAW Records and were signed to the Hawaii-based independent record label. Yesod Williams of the dub rock music mega-sensation PEPPER and owner of LAW Records says of his newest addition, “Having BALLYHOO! join the LAW Records family is a perfect fit. They are an incredibly talented band with a really catchy style”. 2011 has been a paramount year for Ballyhoo! as they wrap up the year with a few holiday bashes.
On Passafire’s fourth album release, Start From Scratch, the Savannah, GA based Rock outfit is truly starting from scratch. Injected with energy from a new member (keyboardist Mike DeGuzman), a freshly formed band-owned label (FlameGuy Records) and a new producer, Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers, Sublime, Meat Puppets), the band have made their best album to date. Trekking down to Sonic Ranch outside of El Paso, TX, where Connor Oberst, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sublime and many more recently recorded, they expand their sound from their previous releases; deeply honing guitar tones, exploring synth sounds, and laying down tracks of Harmonica and Banjo. “We always wanted to have a good balance of organic and synthesized sounds and we finally had the chance to make that happen this time,” recollects singer, Ted Bowne. Songs like “Dimming Sky,” “Lorelie, and the title track, “Start From Scratch,” exemplify this newly found balance.
Passafire was formed in 2003 by students attending Savannah College of Art and Design. Throughout the years they have become a perpetually touring band playing hundreds of shows a year with bands like 311, Pepper, Rebelution, Matisyahu, Michael Franti, The Wailers and many more. Bowne doesn’t mind the grueling schedule and adds, “Touring is the best way to keep the buzz about the band going. What keeps it fun and exciting is the people we meet and places we get to see. We are in a new city every day so there’s always something to go see or do. If we didn’t tour constantly, we wouldn’t be doing as well as we are. That’s a fact.”