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A simple internet search for the energetic San Francisco quartet Solwave will tell you the number one thing you need to know about the band, and it will tell you over and over…YOU MUST SEE THEM LIVE. Not because their recordings are not equally as impressive, as a glance through those reviews will tell you the same. When Solwave is on stage, it’s impossible not to get swept away by the combination of chemistry, sheer talent and songs filled with soul, blues, new wave, and undeniable rock n’ roll dance beats. All of this mixed with the flow of energy from the audience is not only what sets the band apart but is what makes their fans continue to come back for more.
Starting out as a trio of childhood friends, the band was initially formed back in grade school with front man Joe Collins and brothers Danny and Tommy Ferdon. With Joe initially behind the drums, Danny on bass and Tommy on guitar, the three spent countless hours jamming together as they honed their individual crafts. As life went on, Joe would be the first to leave for college at UC Berkeley. It was during his freshman year that he realized music was his number one passion and headed back to the city where he stepped out from behind the drum kit and started to focus on vocals and the piano. Just as naturally as both came to him, he started writing songs and rapidly began to fill a catalog of songs that would later become Solwave staples. Joe attempted to play with other local musicians when Danny headed off to Indiana State and Tommy finished his senior year of high school. Similar to Joe’s college experience, Danny eventually transferred from Indiana to the University of San Francisco, where his younger brother accepted admission as well and the band was reunited. With Joe’s new role as front man, SOLWAVE posted a Craigslist ad for a new drummer, which was quickly answered by Moise Seri whose skills and obvious strong work ethic fit right in line with the squad.
A basement rehearsal space in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District became the stomping ground for the reunited and reinvigorated SOLWAVE and the next few years would bring hard work, dedication, struggles, victories, live performances and a rehearsal diet of four times per week. Once the band had fully trained Seri on their catalogue of songs, they began applying the same tenacity and creativity behind rehearsing to their business. It was the unique decision to giveaway self recorded cds at shows in the early days that has furthered fans connections with the songs and made the energy between the audience and the band that much more intense at a SOLWAVE show.
Upon hitting the local circuit, the group quickly checked off their wish list of venues as their hometown crowd grew larger with every gig played. At the start of 2012 SOLWAVE began expanding the circumference of their live shows from their hometown of San Francisco to land them on the regular west coast touring circuit from San Diego to Seattle, starting in local bars and working their way into music halls, including The Independent, Doug Fir Lounge, SLO Brew, Moe’s Alley, SOHO Music Club, Hotel Cafe, The Mint, and more. By forging strong relationships with promoters, bookers, and bands, the group continues to raise the bar and are now requested to return to the cities and venues for repeat performances. Averaging more than 100 shows in the last year, a pinnacle moment came in May 2013 when they sold out legendary SF venue, The Independent. With a 500 person capacity, the room was no longer filled with just friends and family, proving the bands hard work was beginning to pay off.
Keeping up with their steady incline SOLWAVE have teamed up with Producer, Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor) and Mixer, Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, U2) for their latest EP, The End of the Beginning. The team is already a winning one with the single release and video for the upbeat and soulful, “I Won’t Wait” to nothing but rave reviews. “Leo” and “Follow” showcase the bands rare ability to create danceable rock songs; while “Lost and Found” pays homage to the group’s classic rock and blues influences. In true SOLWAVE form, they somehow seamlessly switch gears to the psychobilly rock tune, “Devil In My Head” proving they leave no genre untouched without skipping a beat in between. All five songs effortlessly cross genres while managing to form the cohesive collection that makes up The End of the Beginning, delivering the signature yet always evolving, SOLWAVE sound.
“If all we have are dreams, then dream big,” spits Elliot Wright, frontman and philosopher for the five-piece, California Beat Rock troubadours, Eliquate, on their latest EP, Who The F*ck is Eliquate? Packing an arsenal of rhymes that range from satirical social commentary and inner-soul searching to all-out, shake-your-ass-‘til-the floor-is-wet jams, Eliquate’s music has been charging parties up and down the West Coast since 2009. In that time span, they’ve graced the stage with underground royalty such as Murs, Del the Funky Homosapien, Zion-I and RJD2 just to name a few. But, who the f*ck is Eliquate anyway?
Unlike most MCs, Wright didn’t start writing until later in his life. His love for words pushed him to jot down more than just lyrics but meaningful messages for Wright’s peers to think about and connect with. The next piece of the puzzle would fall into place when a friend told him about a guy who was making beats that he might want to connect with. Wright met beat-maker and soon-to-be Eliquate guitarist, Jamie Schnetzler, one day as Schnetzler was eating some questionable-looking Chinese food. As Wright tells it, “I asked him if it was any good, he said, ‘yes.’ I tried it, it was, and I’ve trusted him ever since.”
The dream would continue to grow over the next year with the addition of bass-slappin’ sounds by Cosmo Stevens, the pounding beats of Dan Wells and Tanner Christiansen’s blend of samples and keyboard. In 2010 Eliquate released their first album, Arc Rhythm, perfecting their sound by tapping into a social consciousness greater than any of their individual selves. “We wanted it to be party music with a purpose,” claims Schnetzler.
Drawing influence from all musical styles, the creative quintet build an energetic, live performance that is second to none. On any given night, Eliquate will break from convention and bust into an improvised jam with Wright free-styling on the mic to every audience’s amusement. That’s where Eliquate’s real power lies: they’ll hook anyone on the dance floor with their passionate melodies and create fans with their ingenuity and insightful lyrics.
So, who the f*ck is Eliquate? Well, now you know. They are a powerful mix of music and message currently rocking down doors on their Northwest Tour. But the final question remains: what does the future hold for our gang of intellectual deviants? Two words: dream big.
Bay Area Rock n’ Roll and we know how to party down!
LightBulb is San Francisco’s new premier rapper here to tell the story of a kid growing up in the sunset out to prove all the people who said he wouldn’t be shit wrong.