Unchained

(Left to right) Allen gets into the groove, put together by Marx and bassist Ty Ellis.

Unchained, a band from Rochester, Illinois, performed for SIUE’s homecoming last week. With plenty more shows coming up, as well as an EP they’ve begun work on, things are looking up for Unchained.

Dave Allen, the band’s frontman and one of its two singers, said Unchained had never played at SIUE before. According to Allen, the band has been playing plenty of shows far from home. Their next show is Friday, Oct. 1 at Weebles Bar and Grill in Springfield, Illinois.

“I really hope some of the people at [the SIUE] show come see us again. Or, we’d love to come back to SIUE again,” Allen said. “It was pretty cool for our first college gig.”

Allen said the audience they had for this inaugural SIUE show was great.

“It was a good, really good crowd. They were super interactive, which is always nice,” Allen said. “It’s always more fun for us when the people watching are getting involved with the music too.”

Drummer Matthew Runions said he and the rest of the band were particularly taken by the food venues at the concert.

“The show went great, and I believe they had a little taco venue for before or after the show,” Runions said. “I know we as a band really appreciated that.”

According to Runions, the band currently plays mostly covers of older songs. However, Runions said the band has begun work on an EP, and they plan on playing a lot more original music soon.

“We’ve got some tracks laid out. It should all be ready to go by the spring. It’s going to be called ‘Psychedelic Picnic,’” Runions said. “We’re making that move toward playing mostly original stuff, and then by the next summer, hopefully with all those summer festivals we normally do, we can just do originals and see where it goes.”

The band was started about three years ago, according to Runions. He said he got the idea to start a band from his dad.

“The idea of starting the band was brought up by my dad in August of 2018,” Runions said. “I got some people together, and although we’re not the same group as the original line-up, we’ve been going strong with this setup for about two years now.”

The band members met through the music departments in school in Rochester, Illinois. Logan McKneelen, one of the band’s two guitarists, has been playing guitar for over 10 years.

“I started lessons at 8, which was about 12 years ago. I’ve been playing since then,” McKneelen said. “I was in jazz band and the music program in high school and junior high school, and I met a lot of these guys there.”

Cooper Marx, the other guitarist, said the music played by the band is a combination of many different influences that each of the members has gotten over their years of playing music.

“In our words, I would describe us as epic,” Marx said. “We’ve got a ‘90s vibe. We really like bands from then, like 311, Incubus. It’s a lot of rap rock. We play music that came out 20 or even 30 years before we were born.”

According to Allen, this blending of genres and somewhat old-school style of music gives the band a lot of versatility.

“Since we blend a lot of styles together, our music fits in at any festival. We do play a lot of rap rock, but we try not to stay in one genre,” Allen said. “We all have different genres of music we love that we bring to the table. We do reggae, ska, punk and a whole lot of stuff.”

McKneelen said having a range of genres makes the band more fun for the audience, but also for the members themselves, because they feel like they can play whatever they want and still have a good time.

“I feel like we have a good mix of a lot of genres, and it’s all very alternative,” McKneelen said. “We can spread out across the board and just play what we enjoy, and not worry about losing the crowd, because they want to see us, and that’s what we do.”

For more information, check the band’s Instagram or Facebook pages.

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