By Michael-Shawn DugarMdugar@dnews.com
All four members of the California-based band Ease Up just want to have fun and they want their audiences, whether large or small, to have an equally good time. They want to recreate the feeling of old-school summer nights that entertained until the wee hours of the morning.
“We try to turn every gig that we play into a house party, whether we’re playing at a bar, house or just an acoustic show, we just try to bring good jams, have fun and make people dance,” said Rico Estrada, rhythm guitarist, vocalist and one of the band’s 2009 co-founders.
The next stop on their tour brings the fun-seeking band and its reggae-rock, high-energy ska sound to Moscow’s John’s Alley on Saturday.
On stage, the group sets the mood with its unusual sound that gives the crowd a jolt of energy and gets them out on the dance floor. The band members themselves don’t do much jumping around on stage because their vocal-heavy style usually tethers them to their microphones, but they hope the audience picks up the slack. They said the plan is to get all the women dancing, which prompts all the men to dance, then, before you know it, the entire audience is having a blast.
“It’s not essentially what we do on stage but what we bring from the stage to the people,” said Darryl Brown, the band’s drummer.
The band has been through some shuffling among its members since it was formed in 2009 and in that time the group has independently released two EPs, “If You Only Knew” and “On the Fly.”
In March, they released their self-titled debut album.
Off stage and away from the music, though, is where the party is, members say.
Whether it’s the time one of the band members had a few too many at a club in Florida and accidentally — and unfortunately — relieved himself on stage, or the time the group traveled to a “dangerous” area of Cabo and partied through the night with some locals and woke up in a backyard with roosters serving as alarm clocks, these guys are always into something.
“We always know how to ease up and we always know how to get down and if you have a mountain of dabs we’re going to bring it down to a pile of nothing,” Brown said. “If you’ve heard we’re the life of the party, it’s definitely not self-proclaimed, that’s from somebody else. Usually, if we’re at a party, we’re always half drunk and don’t even remember being there.”
Their wild-boy lifestyle is a direct reflection of their outlook on life, which highlights the positives and emphasizes moving on from times of misfortune rather than dwelling on them — a very stress-free, hakuna matata like mantra.
“If God gives you lemons, then find a new god,” said Nathan Ledgerwood, the group’s guitarist. “Don’t focus on the sour things in life, and if you can’t get over it, figure out a way to get over it.”
The guys in Ease Up say they love music. They love the art. They love what good music can represent and they strive for the same grooves, sounds and energy both musically and in their daily lives.
“The goal is to spread music as far and as wide as we can take it,” Estrada said. “We started this because we love music and we love to make people dance, smile and have a good time. We want to bring that to all the corners of the United States and the world, if you can. We’re pushing as hard as we can to do that and hopefully we can have some fun along the way.”
if you go
WHAT: Ease Up performing live
WHERE: John’s Alley Tavern, 114 E. Sixth St., Moscow
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Saturday