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Leading the Blind

Legions Blind looks to the future

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Orange Park is about to be invaded by some of Jacksonville’s finest up-and-coming talent when The Roadhouse hosts a triple bill headlined by Pieces Left and featuring the recently formed River City rock quartet, Legions Blind.

“We are excited to play there with our friends in Pieces Left,” guitarist and vocalist George Whitaker Jr. told Folio Weekly. “We love that venue and have played there a few times. We’re ready to put on a great show.”

Like many a local outfit, Legions Blind was forged from the ashes of previous projects. Musicians aren’t interchangeable cogs in a machine, though. It often takes time for these things to gel. When the erstwhile members of hard-rock groups Eviction and Stayne Thee Angel came together in January, however, they suspected they were on to something.

“It was electric,” said drummer and vocalist Raina Lowther. “It was instant chemistry for me.”

One reason the lineup clicked: It’s not anyone’s first rodeo. Everyone in the band is experienced and has been playing around Northeast Florida for years. They’re hardworking, but each one knows when it’s time to relax and enjoy the ride. And the combination gave lead singer and guitarist Christian Longman the perfect blend of familiar and unexpected.

“I’ve been playing with Raina for eight years,” he explained, “and if you’ve got a riff, she’s got something to come back with it. George is coming in with a different style. Some of the things he brings, I wouldn’t have thought of by myself, but I think it sounds really good. I like the collaboration and the creativity.”

The experience of playing live is important for the members of Legions Blind. Longman’s vocals are guttural and intense. Lowther’s drumming is precise and powerful. Whitaker’s distorted guitar keeps tunes like “Wicked Woman” and “Beg” chugging along. He and Longman occasionally play harmonized guitar licks, giving their hard-rock sound a classic heavy-metal twist. Songs like “Judgment Day” demonstrate the musicians’ technical skills. These musicians are quite versatile. Lowther and Whitaker switch instruments during the set, with no discernable drop in quality. Musical chairs! Legions Blind also benefits from a top-notch production crew that turns the stage sound into a crowd-pleasing front-of-house ruckus.

The band’s future looks bright. They’ve spent seven months writing songs and building the brand. Next stop: the recording studio. “For me,” Longman said, “[the goal] is just to keep playing live and get some recording done. By August, I think we’re going to have some stuff released. We’re just going to keep putting out content and having fun with it.”

“Like Christian said, it’s about having fun,” added Whitaker. “If you’re not having fun, then you’re not doing it for the love. We aren’t making millions of dollars. We’re doing this because it’s what we love.”

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