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Indie pop from Illinois

BY REBECCA KOONS | APRIL 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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mp3 samples: Elsinore

"Chemicals"

"Lines"

The members of Elsinore came together with the ambition to be more than a typical college band.

Somewhat hindered in the beginning by course schedules and exams, the band survived the demands of academia at Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston. The now Champaign-based group includes drummer/vocalist Dave Pride, pianist/vocalist Mark Wollwine, bassist/vocalist Chris Eitel, and guitarist/vocalist Cole Rabenort.

“Our first two years, we were a little bit pressured to try to play as often as we could because one of us always had a test to study for or a paper to write,” guitarist/lead vocalist Ryan Groff said. “But then once we all started graduating, it got a lot easier, and we saw that it was actually going to be OK.”

Elsinore, which will release its latest album, Yes Yes Yes, on Aug. 10, will take its act to the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 9 p.m. today, with musical guest Chrash. Admission is $6.

The Elsinore members decided to move to Champaign primarily because of its proximity to Chicago and Indianapolis, while maintaining proximity to St. Louis. They have lived there for approximately five years. The college environment of the town provides numerous performance opportunities for the band — something that has helped Elsinore hone its musical chops.

Groff considers the move the right thing for the band to have done, one part of “making bigger steps toward touring and recording more CDs.”

Many of the band’s members have extensive musical training, and three of them obtained music degrees in college. Influences flourish in Elsinore’s music, from Radiohead to the Beatles, and song structure is important to the band members, in addition the musical tastes of each.

“I’d say the bands we usually get compared with are the ones who influence us the most,” Groff said. “Our influences are pretty across the board, and that has always helped.”

A strong sense of focus and direction is one thing Elsinore prides itself on. Not a band to sit idly by and hope for things to happen, the band puts every bit of effort into being an active participant in its own fate and level of success. Having clear goals propels the members to take the music seriously.

“Everyone is resigned to the fact that that’s the kind of band we are, and it’s always worth it, because those are the things that people will notice,” Groff said.

Such a level of commitment does not go unnoticed by Elsinore’s fans. Daniel Vondohlen of Marshall, Ill., said he believes that while Elsinore is a solid band today, it will continue to grow with time.

“[The band doesn’t] seem afraid to experiment and try different things,” Vondohlen said. “It just doesn't seem contrived to me, and [the members] really have their hearts 100 percent into their performances.”

The progression to a louder, less acoustic show has affected Elsinore’s live shows positively. With volume comes a more engaging performance and greater energy for the band and audiences alike.

“It’s really what brings people in,” Groff said. “We want to make people walk away with something positive to say — that’s our overall goal.”


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