Actual Villains is a phoenix of a band that rose from the ashes of beloved Cincinnati local band Close To Home. With all of the original members gone, the band decided they needed a new name and a new direction. We did an interview with the band back in January and they talked about how Close to Home will always be part of their roots, but they’re trying to start a whole new thing. You can read my review and check out some photos from the show below!
The EP release show was a celebration of local music in itself with Cincinnati bands Ocean Grid, Settle Your Scores, and Let It Happen opening. It was a nice environment, and even though the turn out was pretty big, it felt intimate because it was like a big group of family and friends getting together.
Unfortunately it was pouring down rain and I was late getting out of work on the night of the release show, so I made it to Bogart’s just before Settle Your Scores started, but I’m so glad I got to see them! The band just released a full-length this year called “The Wilderness” and a lot of the songs they played were from the album. They really pumped up the audience and a ton of people pressed against the barrier were singing along to every group chant. SYS is about to head out on tour with Swedish pop punk band Abandoned By Bears and it seems like they’re on top of their game and ready for it.
Let It Happen was next. I’ve seen them play before up in Columbus when they opened for State Champs and what I love the most about them is how charismatic they are. Something about their stage presence just feels big. They’re a really talented group, and their catchy indie rock makes you wanna dance. They’re one of those bands that’ll make you want to head back to their merch table and buy a cd if you’ve never seen them live before.
And then, the band everyone was waiting for took the stage. So many people were there to support them, including vocalist Andrew Deneef’s daughter on her mom’s shoulders in the middle of the crowd, and tons of people wearing their old Close To Home shirts and cheering as loud as they could. Actual Villains performed every single song on their new EP, and the energy they gave off was inspiring. They’re back and they’ve got something to prove. The seven song EP has some standout tracks including their first single, “Cave In.” The audience was already singing along even though the EP had just come out, and the amount of love in the room was almost palpable. The band seemed so happy and the crowd fed off of that. After the last song, everyone demanded an encore so AV covered One Direction’s “Perfect” and it made me smile. It was also refreshing to hear a band cover something other than Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (no matter how much I might listen to those covers in the car…)
When Actual Villains were done, the energy still remained in the room and I can say with confidence that this new chapter is just beginning. There is so much in store for this band, and old fans will definitely be joined by new ones. I can’t wait to see where they go from here!