I have to admit, I’m having a personality crisis. Who am I today? Should I write as “The Sandy Connolly Band” and post this on my band page? Since it’s not band-related, I decided not to. My encouragement of the local music scene has taken on a life of it’s own, and I don’t know how to publicize it. I’m even starting a completely new website at www.shorelinemusicians.com, but don’t tell anyone yet. It only has one post on it so far and is only in its infancy.
Two nights ago, my quarterly Electric Open Mic hosted one of the Connecticut Shorelines’ hottest young bands: Girls on Bikes. And just to get this over with, there are no girls. You can ask them about it. Here’s a video from their performance that I took followed by my own article about them.
My Story of Girls on Bikes
I will tell you the story of Girls on Bikes from my perspective. I’ve known two of the band members, Dylan and Connor Levinson, since they were born. I had my first inkling that Dylan had vocal superpowers when I was visiting Susan one day with my daughter Rachel for a play date. Dylan must have been three or four. Prior to my visit Susan had told me about Dylan’s obsession with the villains of Broadway. Imagine my great surprise when I heard pitch-perfect and belted renditions of Broadway villain songs coming from the play room.
“Susan, that’s not normal! You need to get that kid vocal training as fast as you can. Find someone who will take four-year-olds. They’re out there.”
As time went on, Dylan did begin lessons with Ivan Rutherford (Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway). (Thank you Ivan, wherever you are!) Connor Levinson was born, and, besides Dylan’s lessons with a celebrity, both boys began the usual music track of private piano and guitar lessons and public school music ensembles. I kept asking Susan if Connor and Dylan couldn’t get it together to play as a duo. I guess Connor was annoyed with Dylan’s taste in music. Connor wanted rock and roll and distorted lead guitar solos, and the Broadway songs were just not doing it for him.
In middle school, they were able to find common ground as they met up with some other musicians (all members of the current permutation of Girls on Bikes) and formed a band called Burnt Toast that opened for my duo at Slice Pizza in North Branford. Somehow Connor was renamed Cabbage at that time. The place was packed, and they were a hit!
High school brought them all more venues to play, one being my daughter’s sweet 16 birthday party, and their chops were getting honed. Many of the adults were surprised and delighted at how many of the songs we recognized. Here were some great kid musicians who not only appreciated OUR MUSIC but played the hell out of it!
Many of us were worried when they started to graduate high school and go off to college they would have a tough time keeping it together, but so far, so good!
The members of Girls on Bikes are:
- Dylan Levinson, Vocals (entering his second year at Providence College for Music Business Management)
- Cabbage Levinson, Guitar (entering Berklee College of Music in Music Performance for Guitar & French Horn)
- Connor Frawley, Bass & Vocals (entering his second year at Berklee College of Music for Music Performance in bass)
- Joe Sugrue, Drums (entering Berklee College of Music in Music Education and Jazz Saxophone)
And now that they’re grown up, their promo paragraph reads, “Girls On Bikes started two and a half years ago as a classic rock band from Fairfield and has since evolved to embrace such other genres such as funk and jam. With influences ranging from the original classic rock giants like Led Zeppelin, to the psychedelic sounds of the Grateful Dead, Girls On Bikes creates a unique sound that will take the old birds back, and the young guns to destinations they didn’t know music could take them. In essence, though, Girls On Bikes creates effortless, undeniably sexy, real rock and roll.”
You can visit them on Facebook and hear some of their original music here: http://girlsonbikes.bandcamp.com/.
Imagine my delight that on July 23, they will be the featured band at my Electric Open Mic at the Country Tavern. Music starts at 7:30, Girls on Bikes goes on at 8:45.