Elgin’s New Nights got its start in a way at Side Street Studio Arts. And this weekend the band is returning to the scene, this time with a new EP.
The “Enigma” release, a five-song EP out today, carries a conceptual through-line for the young rockers.
“To us it’s a story about what goes on in someone’s head during a time of extreme problematic situations,” said Nicky Fioravanti, the band’s bassist. “You’re kind of messed up in the head, and you can’t really figure out what to do. Every song contributes to that one idea in some sort of way.”
“Enigma,” which opens to the tranquil sounds of waves lapping against the shore, eases listeners into a melodic exploration of that uneasiness before exploding with driving guitar solos and dripping with unbridled instrumental energy from Nicky and his brother Dominic Fioravanti, Nick Connolley and Max Santo behind Tyler Johnson’s soaring, angst-bearing vocals. “I just don’t have the strength, I just don’t have what it takes.”
Leaning toward the heavier end of alternative rock, New Nights puts a modern spin on the mid-90s post-grunge sound. Listening to the third track, “Balancing Act,” one can’t help but be struck by similarities to Gavin Rossdale and Bush both vocally and musically.
“Enigma” is the second EP release for New Nights, which played its very first show for an audience at 2018’s Side Street Studio Arts Battle of the Band when Dominic and Connolley signed up on a whim.
“They were still on the edge about me playing because I didn’t really know all the songs just yet,” Nicky said, laughing. Even though he and his brother had grown up playing music together, the band was founded in earnest when Dominic started looking for other people to play with after NIcky went away to college. Eventually, the Fioravanti brothers were reunited when Nicky was invited to join as the band’s bassist.
“We were excited. We didn’t know what to expect. We just thought it would be fun to play in front of people,” he said. “We didn’t have a following at all. It was mostly just family and some close friends, but as we started moving through the rounds, people started listening to us, which meant the world to us.”
New Nights lost in the final round of 2018’s contest. But the experience gave them the confidence to keep getting on stage, leading to more shows, a contest performance at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and entry into the 2019 battle at Side Street.
“We already had a following from last year, and we knew people wanted to hear us and see us,” Nicky said. “And it gave us a chance to play an intimate setting like that, where you can really feel the music with everybody and have a good time. I love the hot, sweaty environment. … Everybody there feeds off that energy.”
“And we were super-honored people would vote for us,” he added.
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New Nights EP release show with Rushmore, Jace Stephens
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21
Where: Side Street Studio Arts, 15 ½ Ziegler Court, Elgin
Tickets: $5 suggested donation at the door; info at facebook.com