Rubber City’s Acid Cats Get Curious on Latest Release with Show at Musica

Fri 7/5 @8PM

After a half dozen years together and several lineups, Akron’s Acid Cats — Cameron Bickley (drums), Tommy Lehman (trumpet, vocals), Justin Tibbs (tenor sax), Smoke Face (bass) and Andru Dennis (keyboards) — continue to find and explore new musical lives.

“Over that time each of us have grown as musicians,” Lehman said. “Everyone in the band is writing now and contributing compositions. So we all have creative input as far as where we want the music to go.”

Where the Acid Cats musical journey began was more as a straight-up funk group beginning with its 2013 debut effort Crosby Street, which Lehman said was not only recorded quickly but, unfortunately, sounds exactly like it was recorded in haste.

“The album comes across somewhat fragile and rushed,” Lehman said. “It’s not all of the way put together, but that led us to the next album, 2015’s All in a Day’s Work, which was too put together.

“We had too much time on it. We had more vocal tunes. I was doing more singing on that album and the solo sections were a little less involved, meaning they were shorter and maybe over more simple chord progressions.”

Going into the recording of its latest project Curiosity, which receives an album release show July 5 at Musica in Akron, Lehman said the outfit ventured into fusion territory with hints of jazz and rock influences complimenting the funk.

“We’re getting in some more serious harmonic progressions and devices on the new album,” Lehman said. “Like the title track is a hard-driving funk tune with crazy horn solos that lead into a vocal riff at the end. In fact, it’s the only song I sing on the whole album.

“Another song we’re excited about is funk tune ‘Cam Bam.’ That has a very long and ethereal horn-line riding over top and showcases our piano player Andru Dennis.”

If there’s one thing that’s been true with the creative outfit, it’s that curiosity has yet to kill the Acid Cats.

“Not so far, and not this time around,” Lehman laughed.


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