Wild band roars onto campus

By Scarlett Springate

Rock ‘n’ roll will beat down the door on campus this weekend, and it will be wearing a lion costume.

The Lions Rampant, who usually wear costumes on stage, will headline the Cats Den at 8 p.m. on Friday as part of the Beatnik Ball, a concert series that has spent the last three years bringing UK students and rising rock groups together in a more intimate setting than the typical concert venue.

The Burlington, Ky.-based band found their niche playing “blues-infused, garage-brewed rock n’ roll” in the greater Cincinnati area, said Stuart MacKenzie, singer and guitarst for the band.

“Think John Spencer Blues Explosion, plus The Black Keys and some Mudhoney,” he said.

Cincinnati has been quick to show their appreciation for the local boys. The Lions Rampant, which also includes bassist Paul Bunyan and drummer Alex Bauer, were nominated for both Best Rock Band in Cincinnati and New Artist of the Year at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards last year, and the band was featured as a rising artist in Entertainment Weekly.

Josh Rupp, director of concerts at the Student Activities Board, worked with WRFL General Manager Chuck Clenney and Cats Den event coordinator Rob Theakston to find Beatnik Ball headliners that would cover a variety of genres and styles. Rupp said The Lions Rampant is no exception.

“After hearing their music and talking with the musicians, we were convinced they would be a perfect fit for the series,” Rupp said. “Their songs are really upbeat, and I can already imagine the energy that will prevail on stage from simply listening to their music.”

MacKenzie said students should look forward to a high-energy show.

“We’re going to play some fun music that you can dance to with your friends,” he said. “It’s going to be dirty and garage-y and definitely a good time. We feed a lot off of the crowd energy, and we try to get the people into it as much as possible.”

For those looking for a preview of the show,  the band’s past performances are available on YouTube (www.youtube.com) by searching for “The Lions Rampant,” and the band’s second EP, The Lions Rampant Play Rock N Roll, is available for free at their Web site (www.thelionsrampant.com).