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Tommy & The High Pilots to Play a Free Show at Hatheway Oct. 11

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Article by: Laura Inlow, lgriffith@lc.edu
Godfrey, Ill. - Up and coming national act Tommy & The High Pilots will hit the stage with openers The Giving Moon for a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in Lewis and Clark Community College's Hatheway Cultural Center. 

Students, faculty, staff and the general community are invited to the show, which is being sponsored by L&C Student Activities and WLCA 89.9-FM. 

The rock band from Santa Barbara, Calif. is no stranger to playing college campuses, and puts on a show that is known for being high energy and interactive. 

"It's very high energy. I think that for all the traveling we do, which can be the harder part about being on tour, that 45-75 minutes on stage is our release. It's our playground, where we can experiment and play around, and we move around a lot," said vocalist/guitarist Tommy Cantillion, who, along with his brother, guitarist/keyboardist Michael Cantillion, and drummer Matt Palermo, make up the band. "We're very passionate about our live show. We don't just want to do the album, we want to present it so it comes together for our fans."

After the show, concertgoers will get the opportunity to mingle with the band members themselves, who have been together for the better part of five years, and have released two EPs and two albums so far. The band's most recent offering, "Only Human," was released on May 28 through Redbird Records (produced by Matt Wallace).

"We actually play a lot of college campuses," Tommy Cantillion said. "Just performing in general, there's a level of excitement on college campuses - the students get to get out of the school mindset for an hour or two. We absolutely love it."

On their way to a gig in St. Louis this past August, Tommy & The High Pilots stopped on campus and played several tracks from "Only Human" live, on the air, in the WLCA 89.9 studio. This weekend's on campus show kicks off a tour that will stop in Chicago and St. Louis over the month of October. 

The album's first single, "Outta My Head," may have come to Tommy while walking on a beach back home, but it's got an edge to it that steps out of the laid back SoCal tradition, and an infectious quality that has audiences dancing and singing, even when they're hearing the song for the first time. 

"The songs can be lighthearted but there's always this thing underneath. 'Only Human' means that you're making mistakes; that it's okay to be fallible. There's a darkness under there," Tommy Cantillion said. "I'm influenced by and very interested in people and their stories. The stories come from other people's lives, but there's plenty of us in there too."

Tommy Cantillion said the band's influences range from Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen to Radiohead and R.E.M.

"We're under the rock umbrella, which is kind of broad, but we pair the simplistic songwriting of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen with the production of bands like the Talking Heads," he said. "I always kind of hold our own songs up, and ask, 'is it good enough to be a classic?' If it's not, we have to keep working on it. Our influences help keep us at a certain standard, but at the same time we want to create a new sound."

Many area music fans already know Palermo as the drummer for the St. Louis alternative rock band Ludo, a relationship which has garnered Tommy & The High Pilots a large local fan base. 

"St. Louis has become another hometown to us," Tommy Cantillion said. 

"We have had a relationship with Tommy for a few years now. You will not meet a group of nicer guys," said Mike Lemons, WLCA station manager and Radio Broadcasting program coordinator. "I think that the audience on Friday night will be very pleased with what they see and hear, even if they are not familiar with the band. Our listeners are very familiar and will be excited to see them on our campus. The Giving Moon, from the Chicago area will turn some heads as well."

St. Charles, Ill.-based alternative rock band The Giving Moon, which names a variety of classic rock musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, and other alternative rock bands including Radiohead, Young the Giant and Foster the People, as influences, will open for Tommy & The High Pilots. 

For more information, visit the official Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/167965036728063/. See the video from the band's performance in the WLCA studio in August at www.lc.edu/News_Story/TommyandtheHighPilots-Aug2013/.