July 3, 2008


Loiterers primed to rock out

July 4 Lucky’s show features 5 bands, most with local ties


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Members of The Loiterers, from left, Mark Francis, Brendan Rew and Matt Barnes, gather in the recording studio at Ultimate Music. Missing is Jeff Martin of Binghamton. The Loiterers will be among several bands playing in an upcoming show in Cortland. 

Living and Leisure Editor

Mark Francis says the Independence Day Bash that will take place at Lucky’s on Friday is a long time coming. 
“Cortland is starving for this right now,” said the lead singer in The Loiterers.
Band members are working with bar owner Bob “Bobcat” Catalano to put together a special show with several rock and punk bands Friday at the 77 Main St. bar.
“Lovers of rock will come out,” said Matt Barnes, drummer in the local band, which also features Brendan Rew on guitar and Jeff Martin on bass. All are ’95 Cortland High graduates except for Barnes, who is a ’95 Dryden High graduate.
“(We) need some good, honest, rowdy, heavy metal,” said Barnes, a recording engineer at Ultimate Music.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Rew, who works at Chain Saws & More on East River Road. “It’s like a reunion, a high school reunion, only better, without the jerks.”
The show will feature Check Engine, Botox Party, Dig My Grave and LaCacahouette, as well as the Loiterers. It starts at 9 p.m. and the doors open at 8 p.m. There is a small cover.
What makes this show special are the local graduates and natives in the bands returning to Cortland to play, said Francis, who works at Textbook Fetcher on Main Street.
l Dig My Grave, a Brooklyn based band, features ’94 Cortland High graduates Jason Madison and Chris Hall. Both used to be in the band Big Boote in Cortland. They play blues, punk music that is rough around the edges, raw.
l LaCacahouette, of Buffalo, will bring back Pepper (Oschner) Thomas, a ’94 Cortland High graduate. This band plays alternative music. Some listeners categorize it as “shoe gazing,” said Barnes. “Some sorts of bands look at (their) shoes on stage,” he explained. That’s not very definitive, he added. “They are kind of psychedelic,” said Rew.
l Botox Party, based in Richmond, Va., has Matt “Chuck” Charles, a ’98 Homer High graduate. Botox Party has a new CD put out by Razor Fist Records. Rew said the band is: “Phew. Wow. It can go any where to some of the prettiest chords you ever hear to thrash chords.”
l Check Engine, from Ithaca, doesn’t have local players. The band plays alternative hard rock with a blues edge.
“It will be 99 percent original music,” said Francis. “No ‘Freebird,’” said Barnes.
Rew said his friends coming to town are basically the same from high school years. “They’re more older, more mature, more responsible. They still have the basic goodness.” In the case of Charles from Botox Party, Rew says: “With Chuck moving away — he’s just more determined to do more with music.” He plays in three bands.
Most of the bands have CDs out and all have samples of their music available on MySpace so people can preview their style.
“It was a long time coming,” said Francis of the show. “We have not played in Cortland for over a year. We said, ‘Hey, let’s get a show going,’ to Bobcat,” who agreed. “We picked a bunch of bands and they said, ‘yes.’”
The Loiterers, who describe their original music as punk metal or punk rock with a dash of metal, have been busy playing around the region, though not in Cortland. They’ve played together since 1996, broke up in 2001 and reformed in 2005. They’ve played the last year and a half in Elmira, Syracuse, Waverly, Ithaca, Albany, Buffalo and in Virginia.
It’s hard to find a punk venue in Cortland, Rew said.
The men find Cortland as a locale teeming with talent but would like to have more places to play their music. The drinking age poses a barrier. They’d like to have under 21 fans at the bar, but their age prevents that. And the over 21 crowd is not going to come to the Cortland Youth Center to watch them play.
“Back when we were in high school, there was a lot larger music scene here. I think that’s one of the main reasons I got interested in playing with a band,” said Francis. “You couldn’t turn around on a weekend without running into a show some place.”
Band members want to start hosting shows here regularly and have another show planned for Aug. 2 at Lucky’s.
“We hope this will catapult that one. We’re trying to get the ball rolling again. Get bands here from other places, return the favor, said Barnes, of when his band has played elsewhere.
“Playing original music and making a living at it is really hard,” he said. And going on tour is nearly impossible, he said.
“As long as you stick to your gut and keep plugging away at it, it keeps getting easier as time goes on.”


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