Ludo presents Space Dracula’s Basketball Expo

The band will play Aug. 7 at The Blue Note.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Aug. 6, 2011

Do you love that final frontier some people call space? What about blood-sucking vampires? Or even just a good ole game of basketball? Then Ludo’s tour, Space Dracula’s Basketball Expo, is one show you have to see.

“We’re very excited to be back in Columbia,” Moog player Tim Convy says. “It’s one of our favorite places to play and it’s going to be the last night of our tour, so it should be an even larger party.”

The theme has Ludo’s bizarre yet original signature scribbled all over it, but one might wonder how the idea came about.

“We’ve done themes in the past and we liked it, and we don’t have any new music out for this tour so we knew we wanted to have some sort of theme,” Convy says. “A couple of crazy, random ideas were thrown out and then we landed on space, basketball and Dracula.”

Only a few special cities have the privilege of seeing all three themes combined for the show as opposed to just one. Columbia happens to be one of those special cities.

“We knew we wanted to do all three in our biggest cities,” Convy says. “St. Louis, Columbia, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago get all three.”

Dressing up for this show is part of the packaged deal that is Space Dracula’s Basketball Expo. Band members wear costumes for each theme – and costumes for these themes will really turn heads.

“I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t pick a favorite based on my comfort level on stage,” Convy says. “I like what we wear on the space nights, I think we look the coolest.”

Although downtime is rare for this out-of-the-ordinary tour, the men of Ludo still find time to live out their basketball-themed nights by shooting some hoops.

“We do play a little basketball,” Convy says. “We’re traveling with a full-size basketball hoop that we bring on stage so every now, and then we’ll set it up in either the venue or parking lot and shoot some hoops.”

So break out of your own comfort level and come dressed up in your craziest space-Dracula-basketball costume to enjoy a rockin’ night.

“We expect people to dress up,” Convy says. “It definitely makes it more fun if everybody comes and looks like an idiot. So you should show up dressed up and ready to sing along.”

Tommy and the High Pilots have little time for play

The band will play Feb. 24 at Mojo’s.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Feb. 22, 2011

Although downtime is rare for Tommy and the High Pilots, the members take time to relish in the small things.

“I’m just standing here watching my boys play pool,” lead singer Tommy Cantillon said. “They’re a good-looking bunch.”

It’s been a long and exciting ride for the members of Tommy and the High Pilots. Since their last appearance in Columbia, they’ve been working nonstop.

“We’ve been writing a bunch of songs,” Cantillon said. “We’ve been staying on the road and working on new stuff. While we’re in St. Louis, we’ll be recording an acoustic EP, which will serve as an in-between album for the kids with American Riviera.”

Taking a break doesn’t seem to be a frequent occurrence for these guys — even during the holiday season.

“We don’t ever break,” Cantillon said. “From the road, yes, but from the band, no. Over the holidays we booked the next tour. I try to write songs every day, which can take a long time. When you get as much time as you need, then that’s what we use that time for.”

The release of the band’s newest album American Riviera has been a huge success.

“We’ve taken a step up,” Cantillon said. “When we put out our first record, we weren’t correlated with Ludo, but we’re very fortunate to be incestuous with them — in a positive way. We hadn’t gotten to be under that umbrella with them until this release.”

The new EP can be expected sometime in March.

“It’ll pretty much be an acoustic album,” Cantillon said. “We’re totally working on this album and we want to put out this in-between album. We want to introduce and show people what we’re into. We want to show people the folksier side of the band.”

Touring with the same people for months at a time can be stressing and at times sickening, but that’s not the case for The High Pilots.

“We’ve been touring for so long that our relationships are really positive,” Cantillon said. “Everything totally falls into place accidentally, everything meshes. We sometimes take 20-hour drives and you really get a lot of time to figure out the personality of every person and to find out who they are.”

Sometimes, their relationship is a little more than just a brotherhood.

“It’s really like having a bunch of girlfriends,” Cantillon said. “You go down a different road to make sure very person is happy. Everyone gets to put their own two cents into everything. We’re a really tight unit. If there’s any dust between any of us, it settles so fast.”

Tommy and the High Pilots – 5 out of 5 stars

Posted to Arts & Entertainment by Megan Suddarth at 12:00 a.m., Dec. 7, 2010

Competition is tough in the music industry, especially for up-and-coming bands. However, you wouldn’t suspect Tommy and the High Pilots is a lesser-known, up-and-coming band. Its high level of enthusiasm and exciting on-stage shows would make you wonder why everyone doesn’t have all of this band’s songs on their iPods.

The band’s performance Dec. 1 at Mojo’s was definitely impressive. There was never a lack of passion in any of the band members on stage. From an eager opening filled with the love of what they do, to an ending that would fulfill any music fan’s expectations, Tommy and the High Pilots put on a spectacular show.

Songs such as “Motorbike” show the creativity and funny side of the band. Who couldn’t love and enjoy a song about a beloved motorcycle? “Round and Round” is also a great song about a couple that breaks up and gets back together so many times they become known for that. With many more songs to get the audience pumped, there’s never a dull moment when the band is on stage.

The genuine enjoyment that is derived from this band performing is enough to make any person in the audience get up and start dancing to every tune, which inevitably resulted during the show. These guys have a pure love of music and that’s obvious to the audience. For the fans, seeing such an animated performance is uplifting and can even cure the attitude of a downer.

Overall, this was a performance that won’t soon be forgotten and that needs to occur much more often. This fun-loving band would impress even the most depressed of people. Anyone that enjoys great music and a great, genuine band needs to check these guys out next time they come around.

Tommy & The High Pilots reach new heights

The band will perform at Mojo’s on Wednesday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 30, 2010

With an ever-growing fan base, Tommy & The High Pilots are touring the country promoting their EP, American Riviera. Lead singer Tom Cantillon formed Tommy & The High Pilots after the crumble of his previous band, Holden.

“We’ve gone through a lot of different trials and tribulations,” Cantillon said. “The thing that I learned from Holden was what didn’t work and what did work. I think that whole morale of this gang is a lot more positive.”

The members of Tommy & The High Pilots have a close past. Three out of four of them grew up together in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“My little brother’s in the band,” Cantillon said. “It was pretty easy to get him involved —- I’ve known him for a while. Steve, our bass player, I’ve known him since I was like in sixth grade and we played in different bands together.

Another member of the band is Matt Palermo, formerly of the St. Louis band Ludo.

“I was in a band way back and we used to tour around with Ludo,” Cantillon said. “I stayed in contact with him and we wound up kidnapping him for a little bit.”

Together, the High Pilots take on a new, collective form when performing.

“We take on the Tommy & The High Pilots form when we’re on stage,” Cantillon said. “We’re not just Tommy, Mike, Steve and Matt. There’s a whole different energy and something else going on and we just ride with it.”

The stage is the ultimate playground for the High Pilots to express themselves.

“I always tell the other guys to take caution because I don’t know if I’m going to swing around,” Cantillon said. “If you come up on stage while I’m in the middle of a song I might accidentally kill you with my guitar because once I get up there I’m possessed.”

For the band, the interaction with an anticipating crowd is the most pleasing aspect to performing.

“(Performing) is the best representation of our band,” Cantillon said. “There is so much energy and we love trading energy with the crowd. You always want to leave them at the edge of their seat, but you can’t plan what’s going to happen.”

And no matter where the High Pilots are, the songs continue to flow from the pen, whether on the East Coast or the West. But Santa Barbara has the band’s heart -— and its lyrics.

“’Where to Start’ was written in New York and was based on what I experienced there,” Cantillon said. “Going from one place to the next brings inspiration. But most of our songs are based in Santa Barbara. We grew up there and it’s a huge part of who we are. It’s a very special place to us.”

Fans of Tommy & The High Pilots can expect much more from this up-and-coming band.

“We’re on the road through Christmas,” Cantillon said. “We’re always writing, all the time. As soon as it makes sense, we’ll be in the studio again. Then, right after the New Year, we’re going to try to get right back out on the road.”

Choir, orchestra combine forces

The ensemble will perform together Nov. 18 in Jesse Auditorium

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 16, 2010

Every year, the Choral Union, University Singers and University Philharmonic Orchestra combine forces. This week it will happen yet again.

Performing in Jesse Auditorium, these two organizations will meet on stage to perform “The Fauré Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré and “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein.

“They are two very contrasting pieces,” Director of Choral Activities Paul Crabb said. “That makes for good programming. If you have something that’s lyrical and is rather intimate, it makes sense to balance it with something that is more outgoing and more vivacious.”

The concert will feature a piece that will represent something bigger than music.

“We’re fortunate to have an eighth grade boy soloist,” Crabb said. “Bernstein wrote the part specifically for a boy’s voice and we’re fortunate to have an excellent singer available. “Chichester Psalms” ends then with all the parts, all the choir, playing and singing the same note. In essence, Bernstein symbolizes his desire for the world to live together in unity by having the choir sing the same words on the same note at the same time. It represents his idea for unity and peace in the world.”

The “Fauré Requiem” in the concert is dedicated to the late Harry Morrison who taught voice at MU School of Music and Stephens College.

“I hope that people will look at this as an honor for an important member of our communicty,” Crabb said. “The requiem is a traditional text for the dead. It’s a liturgical service from the Catholic Church and this particular setting, musically, is very positive and optimistic — Harry was an optimistic, positive person.”

Sophomore Caitlin Lukin is a cellist in the orchestra. Concert preparation has been hectic, she said.

“We’ve been practicing like crazy,” Lukin said. “We have around eight hours of practice every week usually and this week we have dress rehearsals every night.”

Senior choral member Kaitlin Foley said this concert is a little different than others she’s done before.

“The music is different, of course,” Foley said. “And this year is the first that we’ve done Hebrew in this kind of setting with the community choir and the orchestra. It’s been fun learning and trying to say the Hebrew really fast.”

Foley’s passion for singing is obvious in her everyday life.

“I love the Bernstein music so much that I listen to it in my house,” Foley said. “I really like choral singing because it always feels like super triumphant when you are in a big group of people but you’re all singing in the same way, as one massive body of sound.”

The concert series will continue next spring with another pairing of the choir and orchestra.

To Foley, the unity of the two groups is powerful.

“There’s just something about a big force of people singing altogether,” Foley said. “It’s just super moving.”

An ongoing tribute to Sublime

The band will play Nov. 16 at The Blue Note.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 12, 2010

For most people, the name Badfish kind of puts the thought of smelly salmon in your mind. Not for Sublime’s loyal fans. Instead, Badfish brings to mind the awesome talent and original sound of Sublime.

Badfish, a Sublime cover band, came together in 2001 when a group of students from the University of Rhode Island expressed their love for music to one another.

“We were just students together at the University of Rhode Island,” Badfish’s drummer, Scott Begin, said. “We’d get together and just jam. We were in classes together, and we knew each other’s interest in music so we got together and we jammed and the idea just sort of came about, ‘Let’s try to do a Sublime tribute show and just see how it goes.’ It went really well when we did that show, so we decided to keep at it.”

The name of the band originated from a not-so-popular song on the Sublime album 40 Oz. to Freedom.

“It was just one of those things,” Begin said. “The song had a catchy sort of name. It was kind of a cool name for a band, I guess. It was just one of those Sublime songs, it might not have been one of their biggest hits or anything like that, but it was just a song that we sort of felt like it embodied the whole spirit of Sublime and their music.”

For fans that were never able to see the original ska-punk band perform live before the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, Badfish provides a good alternative with its tribute to Sublime. For Badfish, being able to give fans that opportunity is tremendous.

“Oh, it’s great,” Begin said. “You know, any time you get to play music on stage in front of people is great in itself. But to play music that people really love and really respond to makes it that much better. Clearly, anyone coming to see our show knows what they’re in store for. They obviously know at least a few of the songs, if not all of the songs.”

The members of Badfish present their talents in more than one band. Scotty Don’t is an opening band for most of the Badfish shows, and it allows the members to show off their own originality.

“That’s really a fun part of it, too — that we have the same guys, just an alter ego,” Begin said. “It’s been an interesting sort of experience to do this for the past few years that we’ve had Scotty Don’t. It’s been our own band and our own entity.”

It seem as though anyone can pick up an instrument and play a show as a tribute to anything. But it takes time, dedication, passion and talent to make a show of it, all of which Badfish possesses.

Preparing for a taste of Ludo

The St. Louis band will play Oct. 16 at The Blue Note.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Oct. 15, 2010

The constant sound of bustling leaves, skateboard wheels and chatty students fill the town of Columbia every day. This weekend, however, the familiar sounds of electric guitars, harmonic moog keys and fanatical lyrics will also pack the streets with the return of the crazed alternative band Ludo to The Blue Note.

Ludo is no stranger to the stage of The Blue Note. It’s been playing at the venue for years.

“We’ve been lucky enough to be able to do stuff on our own,” Ludo’s moog player Tim Convy said. “Columbia was our first show, and about seven people showed up. That really mattered to us that those seven showed up and then next time brought their friends.That’s how our band got started, so even now with bigger crowds we still appreciate every fan that comes out.”

The band’s new album, Prepare the Preparations, came out Sept. 7. The album covers all genres of songs from melodic love songs to the spooky click-clack of marching skeletons to upbeat sounds of runaway robbers.

“The new album covers a lot of the same ground as our other albums, and there’s also a lot of new things that we’ve never done before,” Convy said. “We weren’t afraid to be Ludo and weren’t intimidated like maybe we were on our first major label album.”

Ludo’s new single, “Whipped Cream,” has a very similar vibe to its previous song, “Go-Getter Greg” from the group’s last album, You’re Awful, I Love You. The song has the same sort of creeper-in-the-corner type feel, which is what most Ludo fans crave from its mastermind songwriter, Andrew Volpe. Volpe also puts a slight twist in this album with more romantic love songs, such as “Manta Rays” and “I’ll Never Be Lonely Again.”

“‘Whipped Cream’ and ‘Go-Getter Greg’ are one in the same about the same type of obnoxious guy that we all hate,” Convy said. “We like to mock the creepy guys. With the love songs, Andrew tends to build a story around real emotions. So the stories and the characters may not be real, but the sentiment behind them definitely is.”

The band toured extensively in support of its last record. Convy said the band needed a break from each other at the end.

“We really got sick of each other,” Convy said. “It was crazy on the last record. Afterwards, we took time off to ourselves for a year and spread out across the country. We played in different bands and worked on different projects and it made us refreshed and ready for the new album and tour.”

What’s up next for the men of Ludo?

“(We’re) just going to get through the tour and support the album,” Convy said. “(Then) we’ll take time off and figure out what’s next. We’re looking forward to The Blue Note. It’s the second to last show on the tour, and this tour has been awesome.”

So this weekend, let the skeletons come out and roam the streets of Columbia. That is, the song “Skeletons on Parade” — a fun, Halloween-type thriller that’s perfect for this time of year.