EARLY SHOW: HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS at the Pike Room

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2009
doors at 5pm (SHOW AT 5:30!)
tickets: $13.50 in advance (buy tickets)

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The post-hardcore/emo-pop quintet Hawthorne Heights came to life in the summer of 2001. Originally called A Day in the Life, the Dayton, Ohio-based collective saw numerous lineup changes and shifting music styles before settling on a permanent formation. Composed of drummer Eron Bucciarelli, bassist Matt Ridenour, vocalist/guitar player J.T. Woodruff, and guitarists Casey Calvert and Micah Carli, Hawthorne Heights built their fan base on a solid demo recording and a series of self-booked national tours that saw them sharing the stage with the likes of From Autumn to Ashes and the Descendents. In 2003, they signed with Chicago label Victory Records, resulting in the 2004 release of their powerful full-length debut, The Silence in Black and White. As the bandmates relentlessly toured behind it, the album became Victory's highest-selling debut, while its lead single, "Ohio Is for Lovers," slowly invaded rock radio, MTV, and teenage hearts across the country.

Hawthorne Heights' follow-up effort, If Only You Were Lonely arrived in 2006 alongside the This Is Who We Are DVD. Leading up to the album's release, Victory urged street team members to help it chart above urban singer Ne-Yo, whose own album was slated to be released the same day. Questionable promotional tactics included rearranging store displays to hide Ne-Yo's record and make Hawthorne Heights' more prominent. Lonely debuted at number three on the charts, though, unsurprisingly, more than a few eyebrows were raised in the band and label's direction. Regardless, the album continued to sell well, as its first single, "Saying Sorry," garnered airplay on many a modern rock radio station.

However, controversy came to a head in early August when Hawthorne Heights suddenly announced that they were leaving Victory Records (despite a contractual obligation of two more albums for the label) and suing the company over various issues, including unpaid royalties and tarnishing their name and relationship with fans over the aforementioned incident (the band claimed to have no knowledge of the street team letter that was issued as though personally from them). In a statement issued online, the band compared their time at the label to being in an "abusive relationship" and directly attacked "greed driven" label head Tony Brummel. As issues were sorted out behind the scenes (and Victory counter-sued the band, claiming they just wanted to jump to a major), Hawthorne Heights continued touring nationwide and served as headliners on the fall 2006 version of the popular Nintendo Fusion Tour with openers Relient K, the Sleeping, and more.

Following several court dates with their label, Hawthorne Heights returned to the road in late 2007. However, guitarist Casey Calvert died in his sleep just several hours into the tour, the victim of a lethal combination of antidepressant medications and Vicodin (Calvert had reportedly undergone a root canal prior to the band's departure, hence his need for painkillers). Soldiering on as a quartet, the bandmates resolved their issues with Victory Records and issued a third album, Fragile Future, in August 2008.

With Special Guests: JUST SURRENDER / PUNCHLINE / MONTY ARE I / NIGHTBEAST

 

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