(Graphic | Courtesy of Hayden Homes Amphitheater)
The Hayden Homes Amphitheater has announced its second concert of the 2022 season!
Dispatch and O.A.R. will play the Hayden Homes Amphitheater on Friday, July 22, 2022. Robert Randolph Band will play in support.
The online-only presale starts Wednesday, December 8, at 12pm and ends Thursday, December 9, at 10pm. The password = local. Buy tickets here.
The general onsale opens Friday, December 10, at 10am at BendConcerts.com and in person at the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District.
Marriage, birth, death, departure; for Dispatch’s Chadwick Stokes and Brad Corrigan, the only constant these past few years has been change. Add to that an exceedingly tense political climate, long-overdue reckonings on racial justice and gender equality and a runaway global pandemic, and you’ve got an idea of what’s behind the band’s extraordinary new multi-part album. Marking Dispatch’s eighth studio release and first full-length collection without longtime member Pete Francis, the new album will arrive in a series of distinct phases, each consisting of three tracks inspired by the emotional stages of grief and transition. The songs here speak not only to the band’s personal evolution, but to human nature itself, charting a course from denial and resistance to growth and acceptance through deep introspection and empathetic character studies. Heady as that all may sound, the music is pure Dispatch, blending infectious roots rock with hints of reggae, folk and blues, and the production is similarly lean and energetic, leaving plenty of space for some of the group’s most pointed, political lyrics to date. The result is a timely and essential album from a band still breaking new ground two-and-a-half decades into its storied career, an ode to resilience and survival that manages to find hope and joy on even the darkest of days.
O.A.R. might just be music’s biggest best kept secret. The platinum-certified Rockville, MD band has quietly sold out Madison Square Garden twice, filled Red Rocks Amphitheater a dozen times, earned platinum and gold plaques, lit up the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration and built one of the most committed fanbases in the world. The group — Marc Roberge [lead vocals, guitar], Richard On [lead guitar, backing vocals], Chris Culos [drums], Benj Gershman [bass]and Jerry DePizzo [saxophone, guitar, backing vocals] accompanied by Mikel Paris [keys, backing vocals, percussion] and Jon Lampley [trumpet, backing vocals]—ring in 25 years together by strengthening this special bond with audiences everywhere.
“When we were kids during summer, we’d hijack a minivan from one of our moms, head to the local amphitheater and watch our favorite bands,” recalls Marc. “On the way, I’d look out the window and think, ‘I’d like to be in a band that gives this to people’. We’ve got an original crew. It’s like Stand By Me, The Goonies or Stranger Things. We put the essence of neighborhood friends into our songs.”
The implications of this secret have become downright mythic over the years. As legend has it, O.A.R. took the stage for the first time at the eighth grade talent show. “That is still one of my proudest moments,” grins Marc. “I love the fact we had the guts to do it.” A few years down the road, Jerry joined the fold at the Ohio State University. While in high school, Marc instituted a sales rep program, asking friends who had gone away to college to sell boxes of CDs and document the names and emails of each buyer, attracting a grassroots following. Tens of thousands of hours later, they sold out Madison Square Garden for the first time in 2006 only to repeat this feat one year later. Along the way, two singles—Love and Memories and Peace — and the live album Any Time Now went gold as Shattered achieved platinum status. The 2011 anthem Heaven emerged as their most successful song on the West Coast. 2019’s The Mighty marked the group’s third consecutive Top 15 debut on the Billboard Top 200. Piquing the curiosity of media, they’ve incited think pieces by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated and performed on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, the ESPYS and more. They have done it on their own terms.
“We’ve always had an independent spirit,” affirms Jerry. “The crowds give us the energy to forge our own path. We’re not beholden to traditional cycles, schedules or any of that bullshit. We contribute a soundtrack to people’s lives, and take a lot of pride in it. Internally, we’re a cottage industry. This is a small business run by five friends, and we do it daily. It comes down to always super-serving the crowd.
We put ourselves in a fan’s shoes, think about what we would want from our favorite band and do our best to execute that.”
The ardor and adulation of the fan community comes through loud and clear among forums of diehards. Beyond indulging this community, O.A.R. gives back as well. The band’s Heard The World Fund supports youth, education and the under-served in the United States, raising and contributing millions to benefit various schools, students and organizations. They established a scholarship at their alma mater, the Ohio State University, and provide scholarships to veterans and gold star families via Folds of Honor. The Concert For Dreams, performed at NYC’s famous Beacon Theater, raised north of $1 million for Garden of Dreams. Additionally, the band has gone to bat for causes, including Connor’s Cure to stand up to pediatric cancer. They raised and donated $100,000 for the Jimmy V Foundation.
“We feel a moral obligation to help,” adds Jerry.
At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, O.A.R. engaged listeners in a different way. The frontman launched I Feel Home with Marc on Instagram Live, playing acoustically, communicating from the heart and bringing a little light to the world. Impressively, he drew tens of thousands of viewers on a regular basis.
“I didn’t want to do it,” he admits. “Then, everything changed. My daughter asked, ‘Hey, are you going to sing songs again? Are you going to write?’ So, I thought, ‘I’m going Live. Let’s give it a swing’. I’m sitting in the house, playing guitar, and it’s like getting on stage at a little club or a bar. We all need to be together even if we can’t do so in-person. I fell in love with the process.”
In the end, the bigger this secret gets, the more special it becomes.
“We’re in a constant state of appreciation,” Marc concludes. “This isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It comes from a pure place of imagination. O.A.R. is not only a declaration that we’re here, but that we’re going through what you’re going through. To all of us, O.A.R. is a stable, concrete foundation. We’re all doing this for the right reasons, and we’re a family.”
“Each day since I was five years old, I’ve woken up and chased my dream,” Jerry leaves off. “This is a manifestation of the same dream. We won’t ever take it for granted.”
Robert Randolph took a step outside when it was time to record his new album, Brighter Days, choosing to work with producer Dave Cobb. Cobb is best known for his work with new country stars like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. Looking beyond anyone’s expectations or his own preconceptions helped Randolph circle back to where it all began for him: church music.
The first three songs of Brighter Days are a full dive back to Randolph’s gospel roots, starting with lead track Baptize Me, a joyous romp of a song that makes a direct connection between religious and musical ecstasy and salvation.
“Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs,” says Randolph. “He wanted to do something that was fun but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.
“We wrote Baptize Me the first day in the studio. It’s really a love story, about an all-round love: for each other, for our audience, for our church background, for the music we love and for our fans. All of these songs kind of harken back to how we started, to being known as this musical family band that comes from the church and appeals to rock, blues, gospel and soul music audiences. We wanted that good gospel, blues, R&B feel, because that’s where we started and it’s good to not only remind people of that but to actively remember it ourselves.”
Randolph grew up playing sacred steel music — basically gospel played on pedal steel guitar — in the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey, and began taking his joyous, gospel-infused music out to clubs, backed by family members who shared not only backgrounds, but blood.