The Lazystars
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The Lazystars

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"Stargazing - Crowds gather 'round for Vegas foursome's debut"

Judging from the throng queuing up for autographs and handshakes outside Zia Record Exchange, it’s a safe guess a well-known visiting headliner has just stepped offstage. Not bad for a local band playing its first-ever show.

Okay, technically The Lazystars have performed in public once before—in June in Boulder City—but that show featured a three-man lineup sans guitar, so the Saturday night Zia in-store is for all purposes the group’s launch. And, despite the location’s bright-lights-at-night backdrop and you’re-on-your-own sound system, the happening goes down as a raging success.

“It went better than you would think your first show would go,” Dave Hawkins, The Lazystars’ songwriter, lead vocalist and keyboardist, says as he merrily signs copy upon copy of the band’s new EP, All of the Difference. By the time the four musicians and some close friends congregate for drinks at Casa di Amore later in the night, they’ve sold more than half their initial 100-disc pressing.

Though The Lazystars are new to the Vegas scene, their pedigree hardly speaks of inexperience. Hawkins and his cousin, bassist Tony Divencenzo, anchored local outfit Psychic Radio during its three-year run; guitarist Dave Meeks was a longtime member of veteran Vegas band Big Bad Zero; and Brian Havens served, briefly, as the drummer for The Killers (yeah, those Killers). The four men came together when the 30-year-old Hawkins recently reconnected with his muse. “Inspiration comes and goes, and after grinding it out for so long [with Psychic Radio], it disappeared,” he says. “Then it just happened again. It was just time.”

With a crowd of about 40 standing congregated around the back-of-store CD racks, the quartet burns through nine tunes—the first four without pausing for air—showing off a mature and melodic pop-rock sound that recalls Coldplay and U2 without mimicking either (needless to say, Zia’s “No Slam Dancing” sign seems expendable). The setlist includes all four songs off Difference (ballad “Still Remember,” featuring anthemic three-part harmonies, is a highlight), along with newer pieces, including the night’s most rocked-out number, “Light of Day.”

Up next for The Lazystars: a November 22 set at the Forum Shops Apple Store and a November 29 gig at Casa di Amore. From there? Judging from tonight’s audience response, anything seems possible.
- Las Vegas Weekly by Spencer Patterson


"Underground No More - After Five Years in Boulder City, Matteo's calls it a night"

Dave Hawkins was there for its birth, and now he’s marking the passing of Matteo’s Underground Lounge in song. “Time to say goodbye to the Underground/Time to raise ’em high for one more round/Though we walk away, our hearts will stay/Lights out,” the frontman for Vegas outfit The Lazy Stars sings as the assembly in the cramped Boulder City club hoist their collective drinks to the sky.

Five years ago, Hawkins’ old band, Psychic Radio, performed on opening night at the basement venue beneath the historic Boulder Dam Hotel. When he got the call to play the June 28 finale—the first-ever show for the now-two-month-old Lazy Stars—he got to work composing “Lights Out,” a tribute to a spot he calls “a home away from home. We opened it as one band and closed it as a new band,” says Hawkins, who also played acoustic shows at Matteo’s during the years between. “Tonight seemed fitting—a full-circle kind of thing.”

In January, the Matteo brothers—Chris, 41, who ran the venue, and Craig, 37, executive chef and head of operations at the upstairs restaurant—received word rent would increase significantly when their lease expired at the end of June. The move effectively “put us out of business,” Chris Matteo explains during a break in the action. “The hotel board and management forced us out.”

During their five-year run, the Matteos—Philadelphians who’d never worked in the restaurant, bar or band-booking business prior to arriving in Southern Nevada—established their Underground Lounge as a home for original music, much of it of the mainstream-rock variety and about 70 percent local-based. (Onetime Beatle Pete Best was one of the more famous out-of-town headliners.)

The brothers also managed to do something many doubted could be done: turn the small, relatively nondescript room into an out-of-town destination for Las Vegas music fans. “When we first got here, people said, ‘You’re not gonna draw Vegas people,’ but we did,” Chris Matteo says. “The majority of people that came here were from Vegas, Henderson, even Summerlin.”

Following an impromptu acoustic set from Boulder City’s own thisisatrainwreck and a punky, comedy-infused performance from the fake-mustached Go Wank the Broom, Vegas mainstays The Day After become the last band ever to take the stage at Matteo’s. An hour later, singer/guitarist Jenine Cali tries to call it a night with a cover of Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything,” but the small-yet-still-attentive remaining crowd isn’t quite ready to say goodbye. And so, for the record, new tune “Our Pet Lion” from The Day After’s in-progress new album goes down as the final song performed at Matteo’s, completed around 2:20 on the morning of Sunday, June 29.

“To be the last band ever to play here is an honor. Chris could have asked anyone, and he asked us.” bassist KC Wells says. “I’m sorry to see it go. The drive out here sucks, but the vibe of the club is cool. It doesn’t take a lot of people to pack it. And it allows people to feel like they’re somewhere other than in Vegas. It feels like you’re escaping your scene and following your favorite band out of town, even if it’s only 20 minutes away.”

As the club clears out for the last time, the finality begins to hit Chris Matteo, who vows to open a bigger, better venue in the near future. “We’ve been so busy getting everything ready to move out, but talking to people tonight it’s starting to hit me emotionally,” he says. “We had a good run, and I think we’ve done everything we can here. The next step is moving into Vegas. It’s all about finding the right location. There’s a lot of availability there, and we’re definitely looking.”
- Las Vegas Weekly by Spencer Patterson


"Lazystars sound 'like that first shot of whiskey after a hard day's night' - Band forged their own sound"

Lazystars sound 'like that first shot of whiskey after a hard day's night'
though they've played in such notable vegas bands as psychic radio, big bad zero and the killers, the LAZYSTARS' blissed out rock 'n' roll doesn't bear much in common with the band members' solid pedigrees. instead, they've forged their own sound, posited on buoyant melodies and cresting guitars. read on as singer/keyboardist dave hawkins, guitarist dave meeks, bassist tony divincenzo and drummer brian havens try and teach us how to be all cool and stuff. what do the LAZYSTARS sound like? hawkins: "sounds like that first shot of whiskey after a hard day's night."


What do The Lazystars sound like?

Hawkins: "Sounds like that first shot of whiskey after a hard day's night."

DiVincenzo: "Lazystars sound like a bunch of dudes having a really cool time."

Your debut EP, "All of the Difference," seems primed for the airwaves. What tunes can you not help but crank when they come on the radio?

DiVincenzo : "It's all about that classic rock. I'm a sucker for 'Twist and Shout.' "

Meeks : "Any Beatles tune."

You guys are a slick lookin' bunch. Tell us the most uncool thing about your band.

Hawkins : "I own two little dogs named after Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Or is that a cool thing? I don't know."

DiVincenzo: "Way too many to list. Next question."

Havens : "Uncool, ha, ha, ha."

Meeks: "There is nothing uncool about us."

Judging from your MySpace page, you guys have plenty of female admirers. Tell all the dudes out there reading this how it's done.

Hawkins: "Seriously! I need to check it more often then."

DiVincenzo: "Form a band with your mates, sing halfway decent songs and that's it."

Havens : "Get in a band that understands what music is really about and the rest follows."

Meeks: "Dress really cool."

- Las Vegas Review Journal by Jason Bracelin


"Confess feelings with local tunes"

Heartache and longing by the dump truck full is what's in store for the latest roundup of Vegas music releases:

...

THE LAZY STARS, "Light of Day EP" (myspace.com/thelazystarspage): Dave Hawkins can stre-e-e-tch a vowel with the very best of 'em.

"All I want is you-u-u-u-u," The Lazy Stars frontman sings on "She Knows Everything," a tempestuous, symphonic-sounding torch song on which Hawkins gradually works himself into a lovelorn lather.

It's an equally sentimental and seductive tune, one directly reflective of this band's dusky, debonair repertoire: lots of texture, melodrama and skybound melodies.

The Lazy Stars songs are suggestive of late nights and star-crossed lovers, and their latest EP sees them further refining their craft, with the slashing, fuzzed out guitar wallop and soaring synth lines of "Light of Day" and the ruminative hip shake of "Pictures/Photographs."

At three songs, it's over before you know it -- kind of like some of the relationships about which Hawkins sings.

...

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.
- LV Review Journal by J. Bracelin


"One for the home team(Neon Reverb, LV Festival)"

Maybe for the visiting bands, this was just another stop. And maybe for the local bands, this was about ownership. On Sept. 17, three touring acts underwhelmed at the Beauty Bar. Kid Theodore exhausted its Gang of Four influences with no real tunes. The Most Serene Republic suffered from unfocused-collective syndrome. And The Morning After Girls were reduced to playing mood music after its drummer missed the show. Who saved the day? The Lazystars, who came on at 2 a.m. and played a compelling set highlighted by its songwriting chops. The Beauty Bar audience finally seemed wholeheartedly engaged. - Las Vegas City Life-Mike Privatt


"The Lazystars "Light of Day" Review"

The Lazystars must get laid a lot. In case chick-ensnaring power ballad “Still Remember,” off first EP All of the Difference, wasn’t enough, the local quartet has new bait: “She Knows Everything,” the middle cut on the three-song Light of Day. “I can’t feel without your touch/I can’t have a thought without thinking way too much,” Dave Hawkins croons amid silky-smooth instrumentation. Now let’s see him sing it with a straight face onstage.

Thing is, though, it’s one catchy tune. So is opener “Pictures and Photographs,” which sneaks up on you in a psychedelic-pop sorta way. And damn if that closing title track doesn’t rock out with its guitar out. Hmm, maybe dudes can hang with The Lazystars, too. - Las Vegas Weekly-Spencer Patterson


"Stumbling into Dino's"

Saturday night, 1:30 a.m. For a moment I was almost scared to get out of my car. Just as I was about to exit, a bunch of dudes wearing beat-up wife-beaters unfurled themselves from a ’70s clunker. I decided they were either homeless or the coolest hipsters ever. I christened the crew “shitsters” (shit + hipster = looking like a homeless person walking past the bar, not drinking in it). But as I was later to discover, they already had a name. This was local band The Lazystars. - Las Vegas Weekly-C. Moon Reed


"Checking in on The Lazystars on the eve of their EP-release show"

Timing is everything for The Lazystars.

After loves lost and band breakups, the four local musicians who would become The Lazystars were just waiting for the magic to happen again. Guitarist Dave Meeks ran into old friend Dave Hawkins as he was putting together a new ensemble. Drummer Brian Havens, formerly with The Killers, had returned from Oregon. Bassist Tony DiVincenzo was joining Hawkins’ new venture. It helped that new venues like Wasted Space were offering local bands the opportunity to feel like rock stars. On the eve of the release of The Lazystars’ new EP, Light of Day, Hawkins sums it up: “Timing is everything in the music scene.”

Dave, compared to your days in Psychic Radio, how do you think the local music scene has changed over the years?

Dave Hawkins: I’ve seen the music scene change so much over the years. It just comes in waves. … Now I think that all the venues downtown like Bunkhouse and Beauty Bar and then Wasted Space, there are three venues that have rejuvenated the music scene and the talent just kind of appears out of nowhere. Timing is everything in the music scene. We’re in the best time of it right now, I believe.


Given your experiences with other local bands, how did you all come together to form this group?

Tony DiVincenzo: Dave [Hawkins] was just destined to write songs. ... We all knew he had an amazing talent, and the coolest thing was just to back him. I’ve played in Hearsay and Psychic Radio with him, pretty much all of his local bands. It was kind of like a married couple. We would play for a while here then it wouldn’t work out and we would play for awhile there and it wouldn’t progress then this band just kind of came together.

Brian Havens: We started jamming together every Wednesday and it was just instant chemistry. As a band, the right timing was everything. That’s why we don’t try and rush anything. We just kind of surrender to the right time. We have paid our dues in the sense of trying to rush things.

Do you have a favorite local venue where you like to perform?
Calendar

Lazystars EP-release Show
With Dizzylilacs, Formality.
August 20, 10 p.m., $5.
Beauty Bar, 598-1965.
Band Guide
The Lazystars

DiVincenzo: At Wasted Space, you feel like a rocker. It’s a real accomplishment. It’s the new trendy place to play. The stage is so small and the crowd is so close, but people just eat it up.

What was behind the decision to go with another EP rather than a full length CD this time?

Hawkins: It’s a feeling that you have. When we’re ready to make that full record, we’ll know that it’s time. We just kind of feel like we have these little gems of songs and we want to throw them out there – like reeling the line out and catching people’s ears.

Do you have a favorite track off of this new EP?

DiVincenzo: “She Knows Everything.” Hands down, best track.

Dave Meeks: I like the openness about it. It sounds very open and sonically, it just sounds very good.

Havens: You can vacuum to it, you can work out to it…

Hawkins: When you listen to it, you can truly relate it to whatever your life is going through at that moment. It’s very open in that way. For me, when I say “She knows everything” the she I’m taking about is Vegas.

Which of your songs tends to get the best crowd response?

Hawkins: “Nothing Else Matters” off our first EP was big. We save it for encores now. It’s sort of a raise-your-beer type of song. We’ve had audiences singing along to it, which always trips me out, because I barely know the words.

Havens: “Pictures and Photographs.” It’s that feel-good song that I think helps everyone think about the beautiful times in their lives.

DiVincenzo: Plus, pictures and photographs, that’s what everyone’s doing right now with camera phones and all that. Everyone can relate to it. God, Kodak could buy it. Not that we’re going to sell out.

Brian, have you had any backlash since your recent major haircut?

Havens: It’s been a very challenging process. Most of the girls have been saying, “Aw, it looks cute. But I loved it when it was longer!” I’m going to keep it short for awhile. … It was kind of representational of the idea that I’m not hiding anymore. Here’s my face. Here we are. Here’s our music. You’re going to like it. - LVWeekly-Allison Duck


"Vision enhancement- Along with new studio work, local rockers Ministry of Love and The Lazystars show off snazzy new strategies for success."

Along with the late August heat comes a little mitigating coolness this summer in the form of two local CD release shows. Well, EP release shows -- rock acts The Lazystars and Ministry of Love drop the three-song Light of Day and the six-song Vision: Critical on Aug. 20 and 28 at Beauty Bar and East Bonanza Theater, respectively. Make time for each, because these should be cathartic, high-energy affairs. But know, at the same time, these shows aren't just a celebration of some studio time well-spent. They're also showcases for two groups of seasoned musicians with a newfound sense of musicianship, whether on the business end or the creative.

As for maturing on the creative end of the spectrum, local rockers who feel they're struggling to connect with crowds (whether numbering two or 200) can take a lesson from The Lazystars. After a three-year stint with now-defunct Psychic Radio, singer-guitarist frontman and sole creative director of that band Dave Hawkins took some time off, got his head together and started fresh, this time with a more democratic approach to an anthemic, wall-of-sound kind of song-crafting that's been compared to, you know, Oasis.

"With [Psychic Radio], it was just me in the studio," he says. "I'd have [band members] come in, lay down their tracks, and then they'd bail. And looking back, it really wasn't even me ... it was just me being influenced by my influences. Trying to sound a certain way. Now I'm doing what I need to as a songwriter, and the new lineup is throwing out more of their ideas. It's more of a band thing."

That lineup, cemented only last November and now happily exhausted from its recent and intensive studio sessions, also features Hawkins' cousin Tony Divencenzo on bass, Dave Meeks on guitar and one-time (briefly) Killers drummer Brian Havens, looking blissed out at this new beginning and finding easy words to describe his own development, both in the studio and on the stage.

"You learn to be true to what the individual song is asking for," he says. "Sometimes in the studio, it's like, 'You represented that emotion really well ... unfortunately, that's not what the song called for. Do it again.' We try and honor whatever the song's trying to say, and we have a good understanding with each other that we're in it for the songs, not ourselves individually."

"If it works, it works," adds Hawkins, seemingly with his own switch from musical dictator to facilitator in mind. "It's about being more open minded for sure."

Friendlier attitude toward the songs themselves -- check -- but how about the audience? To be sure, even a cursory listen of The Lazystars newer recorded material reveals a few kinder intentions in the composition. The dense arrangement of Hawkins' earlier Psychic Radio has opened up a bit, giving the listener room to catch a much-needed breath. You'll hear it in, for example, the piano break that now mercifully, smartly divides the epic "Nothin' Else Matters," released on the band's debut EP, All of the Difference.

"It's really a willingness to be more vulnerable," says Havens. "That silence [during the piano part] captures people. There's nothing like a good listening silence, especially at a live show. For that moment, it's that feeling like, 'Here's our music, here we all are!'"

Hawkins nods serenely in agreement, describing how the new approach hasn't just lifted some of the weight off his own shoulders, but made for improved artist-audience relations as well.

"With Psychic Radio, there was not that connection with people," he says. "They'd stay back behind the bar, playing the machines. But it's different now. There they are, right in front. That's influencing me more now in writing and style. Wanting to connect with them. That's why there's more empty space in the songs now ... to let them fill it up."

DAVE SURRATT, dsurratt@lvcitylife.com - LV City Life-Dave Surrat


"One more song"

Following the indie sounds and stylings of A Crowd of Small Adventures and Hungry Cloud, The Lazystars brought a high-energy vibe and more highly styled veneer to the Bunkhouse. The foursome looked like they’d walked out of a Buffalo Exchange catalog, all skinny jeans, leather jackets and rough-cut hair dos. Evidently I didn’t get the memo that all the girls were supposed to wear belted knit dresses with leggings and slouchy boots. Not that it mattered.

One man in the crowd sported an enormous cowboy hat, and the out of place cowboy sang and danced along to the Lazystars’ set surrounded by hipsters. After finishing what was to be their last song, the band was called back up with shouts of “one more song.” Not in adherence with the de facto dress code, I cheered along with everyone else. - LVWeekly-Allison Duck


Discography

"All of the Difference"
November 2008
1. All of the Difference
2. Airplanes
3. Still Remember
4. Nothin' Else Matters

"Light of Day"
August 2009
1. Light of Day
2. Pictures and Photographs
3. She Knows Everything

AREA 107.9 Las Vegas
All tracks off "All of the Difference" were featured on Local Show Joe in March 2009.

92.3 Las Vegas
The Home Grown show W/ Laurie Steele
All tracks off of "All of the Difference"
She began spinning them in March and hasn't stopped. Every Sunday Night.

Photos

Bio

The Lazystars are a Vegas–based indie rock band with a distinct sound characterized by emotionally–charged, piano–driven melodies, thematic guitar parts, an in-the-pocket rhythm section and ambiance to boot.

Though the band has only been together less than two years, its members are hardly new to the Vegas music scene. Singer/Songwriter Dave Hawkins led local act Psychic Radio on a three–year run; guitarist Dave Meeks was a member of veteran Vegas band Big Bad Zero; Brian Havens was the drummer for The Killers; and bassist Joshua Jackson has performed in various facets of the industry. In their short, but fast-rising time together, they have released 2 EP's and performed over a hundred shows; building an impressive fan and media following along the way.

Though the initial unification of the group was well due to heartbreak, The Lazystars' songs and sentiments exude a theme of love through their esoteric experiences.

"We can only hope, that our hopes, will change into a knowing that our music...just changed your life. It changed ours." - The Lazystars