For garage-rock band Black Bolts, 2020 was a time to get serious.
“I never really pursued sending our stuff out as much,” said Henry Scherrer, the band’s lead vocalist better known around town as Henry JBC. “It was more like we’d drop it, our friends would listen to it … and then we’d kind of go about our lives. It was more about just having fun.”
But 2020 was going to be different, he explained, with a plan in place for releases and a new emphasis on the business side of the band.
“I had everything planned to a T, week by week,” Henry Scherrer said. “And then COVID was like, ‘Nah, none of it.'”
Friday’s release of the “Nobody Told Us” EP is that project finally seeing light of day.
The first of four EPs scheduled for the year, “Nobody Told Us” is a collection of four new tracks and one rerecorded single, each inspired to varying degrees by the band’s soul, rock and blues influences.
“I’ve always thought of us as a really fun live band. We like that experience,” the Naperville musician said. “I wanted to do that literally in the studio. Just that kind of feel or the same amount of energy.”
Black Bolts — featuring Max Meador, Bob Redman, Matt Shukin, Matt Winkelman and Henry’s brother Dan Scherrer — succeeds in capturing that spark on the recording. Thirty seconds into the inspiring first track, “Be A Lion,” Henry lets out a revelrous wail that’s both a warning and an invitation for the remainder of the EP: This is loud. This is boisterous. And it’s gonna be a whole lot of fun.
So what if it’s a year off the schedule?
The band, a staple on stages around the suburbs and a Homegrown Arts & Music Festival regular, went on a hiatus for most of 2020, using the time to create a high-tech home video studio and hone a marketing strategy. But by fall, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight, members decided to forge ahead with some of the new music Henry had been working on writing all year.
Black Bolts celebrates the fruits of those plans Friday with a livestream performance co-hosted by Bloomingdale’s Wolfden Brewing Company, a bar at which the band played regularly before the pandemic.
The brewery also created a special coffee-infused barley wine to go with the release, which fans can pick up as part of a merch bundle that includes the EP, a sticker and Wolfden koozie.
Now that everything’s in place for Friday’s release, Henry is already looking ahead to the second EP, slated for this spring.
“With COVID, this year is going to be unpredictable, but we have a plan to do winter, spring, summer and fall/winter of 2021,” he said. “I’m hoping that by the time we get to this next EP, we’ll have worked all the kinks out.”
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Black Bolts EP release show
When: 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5
Info: Free show, but a $25 event-themed bundle — two Dark Side of Your Heart coffee-infused barley wine beers, the new Black Bolts EP, a sticker and a Wolfden koozie — is available for pickup at Wolfden Brewing Company, 112 W. Lake St., Bloomingdale; (847) 610-5117 or wolfdenbrewing.com.