Get ready - the good times are about to run rampant.
Guitarist/singer Stuart MacKenzie, bassist Nick Vogelpohl and drummer Alex Brauer - aka the Northern Kentucky-based rock trio The Lions Rampant (www.thelionsrampant.com) - are one of several acts heading to Hoffner Park this weekend to perform at the Northside Rock N' Roll Carnival.
The two-day Fourth of July event will feature a number of bands playing for free to the delight of indie music fans. Lions Rampant is now hard at work on "It's Fun to Do Bad Things," the group's full-length debut LP, which the members hope will build upon the success of their two self-released EPs and nominations for Best Rock Band and New Artist of the Year at the 2007 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.
MacKenzie talked to us about celebrating America's birthday, traveling and rocking out on stage.
What are your thoughts on playing the Northside Rock N' Roll Carnival?
This will be our first time playing it, but I've been to it for the past couple years, and it's always a blast. They turn the whole park into a beer garden. There's different Northside foods from the (neighborhood) shops. You see a lot of familiar faces from around the neighborhood - people that just hang out and go to the different bars, restaurants and shows. It's super fun.
I think this is our first July Fourth show. I used to work a lot during the summer a lot; now, I'm not working there anymore so it's nice to get to enjoy it with the rest of the regular folks.
Speaking of festivals, you guys are playing the Forecastle Festival (www.forecastlefest.com) in Louisville next weekend. Considering the big names scheduled to play it, that's a pretty big deal for you guys, right?
One of the organizers, J.K. McKnight, had e-mailed us last year to play and we couldn't. We were already playing Louisville (on) that date, so this year, he helped us and so did Ian Bolender from the Southgate House. ...
There's some really great bands like The Black Keys and The Black Crowes (that) are going to be there, the Avett Brothers, so we're going to have two of our friends - Dan Mecher, who's in the Turnbull AC's, and Cameron Cochran, who's in the Sheds, are going to join us since it's a pretty big show. Dan's going to play organ and Cameron's going to play guitar.
What should people expect to hear when you guys take the stage?
Loud rockish American rock 'n' roll. We're just really excited to play, and we're going to play a few songs off the album we're going to release here in the next couple of months, so there's going to be a lot of new stuff we're playing that people haven't heard before, off a full-length LP with 13 tracks produced right here in Cincinnati, Ohio.
What do you hope 2009 holds for The Lions Rampant?
We really want to put out this record and tour the United States and Europe. That's what our plans are, so hopefully they become a reality. We're going to release the record, and we think we're going to do a vinyl record and a digital download - and that would also be a dream come true for us: to put out an actual vinyl record.
Lastly, do you have a favorite place to watch fireworks locally?
I like to watch them from my parents' house in Dayton, Ky. I can see into Mount Adams and across through downtown; I guess the majority of fireworks I see are shot off from Reds games!