Just a month after their debut single and music video release of “Shakedown”, The War Balloons are making their first appearance at The Avenue tonight.
The trio members are long-time collaborators, performing in different lineups under several different band names since high school and through college. What they have to show for it is a cohesiveness in style and band chemistry, drawing from similar influences as well as what they’ve learned from one another over the years.
Hailing from Flint, War Balloons is relatively new to the area, and so far they’ve received a warm welcome. They’re calling their Avenue debut the first “real” show as The War Balloons; they played in Lansing once before, but as a different band. Then known as Dr. Esophagus and the Scoundrels, the group played Stoopfest, a music festival that occurs in the Eastside neighborhood of Lansing.
The first annual Stoopfest happened in April of this year, where six houses, all within walking distance of each other, turned into all day venues with 60+ bands total on the bill. The way drummer Cameron Varner remembers it, “we basically had a party band. Covers and whatnot. But obviously we all gathered originals from it that we all wrote together.” You can find video of this past incarnation on YouTube playing MSU’s Howland Co-op and jamming out renditions of Cage the Elephant and Jet songs.
Last November, Dr. Esophagus rounded up the Scoundrels to participate in an MSU Battle of the Bands event. They took the first place prize, which included ten hours of free studio time at Elm Street Recording in REO Town. Rather than dedicating the time to releasing original material as the Scoundrels, the band split off and shared the studio time to produce three songs under three different projects. “Shakedown” was one of those songs, and thus Kylash Sivakumar, Kosta G. Kapellas, and Cam Varner became War Balloons.
The result of these three playing together for years is the sound of War Balloons: in-your-face rock and roll and driving precision. The band is kicking things off at the Avenue after doors open. They’ll be warming up the house for some Lansing mainstays Tidal and Lucy, as well as Indianapolis-based electro-rock outfit Vesperteen and indie rock band Float from Columbus.
Doors open at 8PM. The Avenue is located at 2021 E Michigan Ave., in Lansing.