Ekoostik Hookah are Finally Coming Back to the Magic Bag
By Kyle J Susalla
After what Dave Katz (keys, acoustic guitar, and songwriter) describes as “WAY too long”, Midwest jam mainstays Ekoostik Hookah are finally coming back to the Magic Bag in Ferndale on April 25th. “We love to jam in that space, we used to always do two night runs there, and the energy from the fans was constantly amazing. We can’t wait to get back!” says Dave.
What began as some friends jamming together at open mic nights in small Ohio basement bars has now become a musical journey spanning more than two decades. There have been a few personnel changes over the years, but the band has blazed a virtually non-stop path, crossing the country over and back, hitting stages in more than thirty states. Their approach has amassed the group a loyal family of fans or “hookah-heads”; folks drawn to their improvisational blend of funk, jazz, blues, and psychedelic rock. Not to mention, beautiful vocal harmonies. Where the band goes, they go. Be it just north here in Michigan, out to Colorado, or even all the way to the beaches of Jamaica, as is the case with their return to the island for JAMmaica. “It’s going to be great to be back at JAMmaica after a long hiatus. We’re also billing it as ‘Buckley’s 40th Birthday Bash’. He’s a long time fan and friend of the band and was definitely the driving force for making it happen again. There’s nothing he wants more, so we had to do it for him!” explained Dave. It seems the band truly has an appreciation, loyalty, and devotion towards their fans that reflects that bestowed upon them. Their first recording was fan funded after all, and this long before the days of kickstarter.com.
Hookah has remained independent since those early days, never signing with a major label. “Control”, Dave told me “That has been the best thing about staying indie. We get to decide what, when, where, how… both creatively, as well as to say not being forced to be out on the road ten plus months of the year.” Over the years the group has produced several studio and live recordings, selling more than 100,000 copies to fans, despite the lack of big label or commercial radio support. That do it yourself attitude also helped spawn Hookahville , a home spun festival in Ohio, which started out as a campout in Dave’s backyard and over the years escalated into the blueprint of modern music festivals as attendance grew year in and out. “We didn’t know it then but we kind of paved the way for the festivals around now. Big money entertainment companies took notice of the way we were doing things, and that’s when you started seeing events like Bonnaroo pop up.” Dave says.
This years event, now simply renamed The Ville, will take place Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25th. It will also be the festivals 3rd appearance at Clay’s Park Resort in North Lawrence, Ohio. “We’re super excited to take the Ville back to Clay’s! The grounds there are beautiful, camping is awesome, and they have this old school water park that attendees will have access to. We’re also stoked to have primarily local and Midwest acts that embody the spirit we’re after joining us on the stage this year. Tickets are only 60 bucks ahead of time and you are definitely promised great music, and no overlapping sets!” Dave teased.
With the summer being festival season, and prime touring time in general for the spirit Ekoostik Hookah brings, there aren’t any plans to head back into the studio in the near future. The live energy is truly what drives this quintet. With that said I had to press Dave about the possibility of any upcoming live releases. “You know, there is no plan at the moment, but you never know. We have an incredible backlog of live stuff recorded, so many shows, lots of great performances, lots of ways these days to get it out to the fans. It could really happen anytime, there is no plan though. That’s kind of the way we’ve always done things though… with no plan.” Almost deviously ambiguous, I know. Stay tuned to their website is the only advice I can offer. Apparently these hippies know a thing or two about marketing.
Between the beaches of Negril and the party at The Ville Hookah is heading out on the Take a Breath with me tour, a handful of intimate shows at clubs and bars which includes their return to the Magic Bag, April 25th. At each stop on the tour fans will have the opportunity to win some special prizes via raffle tickets you can get your hands on at the merch table. Guitars autographed by the band, music lessons from Dave Katz, your name in a Hookah song, lifetime passes to The Ville Festival, and $1000 cash are just some of what is up for grabs. Whether you are a fan of the Grateful Dead (or any incantation of), String Cheese, the Disco Biscuits, STS9 or anything in between, this as a show not to be missed.
We’ll see you April 25th at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, Doors at 8pm, $15.
For more information please visit Ekoostik Hookah’s official website: ekoostik.com.
For social media please visit: https://www.facebook.com/ekoostikhookah