Stakes brings post-pandemic rock to the Crown Theater in April

Classic rock band Styx plays the Crown Theater on April 23 as part of season 86 of their community concerts.

The band will perform top chart-topping songs everyone knows, like “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” and “Mr. Roboto,” but hardcore fans don’t have to worry. They plan to take a deep look into their catalog to play lesser known songs that longtime listeners will appreciate. With a career spanning over 50 years, they will have no shortage of songs to choose from for their playlist.

The six-piece band includes James “JY” Young (lead vocals, guitar), Tommy Shaw (lead vocals, guitars), Chuck Banuzzo (bass vocals, vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion), Lawrence Joan (lead vocals, keyboards)) and Ricky Phillips (bass, guitar, vocals).

Joan spoke with Up & Coming Weekly on a layover in Boston during this tour. He joined the band in 1999—nearly 27 years after they were formed—and with 23 years under his belt, he’s no stranger to music or fans, but he loves to be surprised by their playlist.

“For the first five years I was with the band, I was really involved in what the playlist was going to be. And over the last eighteen years or so, I’ve taken myself out of this equation,” said Joan.

“I’d rather be surprised by what others decided we’d play that night and walk on stage and play whatever’s in front of me like a menu that someone else ordered for me.”

The only thing he knows is that Styx will be playing new songs from her latest studio album, Crash of the Crown, which reached #1 on the Billboard Rock chart within a few weeks of release. The band began writing the album in 2019, recording it at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Little did they know, the album’s theme of hope and survival would reflect the events of the world.

“If there is one theme that comes across in Crash of the Crown, it is an album of songs that refer to renewal and, most importantly, renewal after a catastrophic event. You can put that in a lot of cases, but in particular, I think the epidemic would be clearer. What people can (relate to),” Joanne said.

“It’s funny that we wrote most of the songs – all but two – before the pandemic.”

Even with 17 studio albums under their belt, Styx is still trying to expand their creative muscles to compose new music that resonates with fans. Their distinctive sound relies heavily on melodies and lyrics that fans can relate to, no matter their age or how long they’ve listened to the band.

“The era of classic rock has become very entrenched in people’s musical vocabulary, and the Styx being from that era, we need to come up with records that kind of balance it hard for it to be relevant today but nonetheless authentic enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with,” said Joanne. Classic recordings made by Styx in the past”.

“[This]is the balance we are looking to strike with the mission of Crash of the Crown.”

Fans are no doubt excited to see live music after the last two years hiatus, and the band is eager to appear in front of the public again. They usually play around 100 shows a year, but the 2020 shutdown has forced them to take a break from the stage. So instead, the band members streamed live shows at home to audiences and virtual conferences, which Joan found a great way to keep in touch with the music he loves to perform and fans.

Styx played a few shows in 2021, but now that venues are open for events, they’ve booked themselves strong for most of 2022.

They’ll also be on the road with REO Speedwagon and Loverboy this summer for what Gowan calls four hours of classic rock with all the bands hit songs on their “Live and Unzoomed” tour, a clear nod to the era of Zoom calls during a pandemic.

“It would be great to re-embrace the epic adventure we experience on every Styx show, with audiences likely to be deprived of this kind of entertainment for a very long time,” said Joan.

“And we’ve seen it on the faces of the audiences. There’s kind of an extra layer of emotion that we have when we come and see these audiences that we haven’t seen now in a few years. It’s just so wonderful to just kind of meet again and rekindle that flame – that musical flame that connected us.” For a long time. “

Ask a live music fan what they missed most during the lockdown, and they will likely say it was concerts. Even musicians like Joan are keen to be on the other side of the performance. Not being able to watch live music was difficult for him as fans because he loves to see his favorite musicians at a concert. He believes that a live rock show is the greatest form of entertainment, whether it’s on stage with Styx or watching from the audience as a fan.

“I remember the last show I saw before the pandemic was Elton John, and I was so thankful I went to that show that I didn’t put it off and go, ‘Oh, nah, I’ll be able to catch him a little further out of the way,'” Joan said,

“And this (show) carried me in a lot of ways during the whole (closure) – wanting to go back to it ourselves.”

Joan is eager to return to North Carolina next April and remembers the area from previous tours.

“I love being in Carolina in the spring,” he said. “It’s a great place.”

“(The weather) is so beautiful especially at that time of the year. It’s what I’m excited about because I like to walk around if we have any time at all, even an hour where we go out. I like to go out, sort of absorb the areas we’re in, and it sure is. North Carolina ranks first on that list for me.”

Tickets on sale now. General seating prices range from $55 to $100. VIP tickets are on sale for $225. Show starts at 7:30 pm. For more information, go to Crowncomplexnc.com.

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