Rock Hop

With aggressive live shows and angsty songs, the Moxies are updating classic rock •n' roll for a new generation.

Though the Moxies aren't performing tonight, they're still decked out in their '50s aesthetic. With their pristine ties, greased-back hair and matching wingtip shoes, they look like they're ready to take the stage any second — even if they're just stopping by Lakewood's Root Cafe.

The throwback, bluesy-rock trio chooses to dress retro in their time off, whether that means throwing on a vest and tie for a Wal-Mart run or getting fully suited up to see a band at the Foundry Concert Club.

"If you're a performer, you shouldn't just wear blue jeans and a T-shirt," says drummer Kevin Werfield. "Look different because people look up to you."

Their punkified version of old-school rock 'n' roll caught the attention of artist and repertoire veteran Kim Stephens, whose credits include Matchbox Twenty and Edwin McCain, at a showcase concert in December 2012. Stephens signed the then-duo of Werfield and lead singer and guitarist Marco Ciofani to a management deal with his company, Forward Entertainment. The two added bassist Tyler Adams this March.

Today the band from the small Amish town of Middlefield is prepping for an Oct. 19 headlining concert at the Grog Shop after releasing their second self-titled EP at a Beachland Ballroom show last month.

"Where we're from there's no one who wants to play rock 'n' roll," Ciofani says.

But to Ciofani, rock 'n' roll was always a part of life. In place of a TV in his childhood home, a turntable would spin tunes by legendary acts such as the Beatles. Those vintage sounds stuck with him even as his music tastes started to turn toward AC/DC and Def Leppard. He began writing songs and playing guitar at 10 years old.

"I'll use a '50s riff or progression, but I play with an aggression that's more garagey, more modern," he says.

Ciofani wrote 20 songs for the new EP, but the band only laid down six over the week they spent recording with producer Brian Patrick at Lorain's Jungle Studios. Like their first EP, expect a tuneful range from the acoustic bluesy love song "Riverbed" to the classic rock-driven "Be Fast Be Smooth."

"A lot of kids will come up and say, •I love it, man, it's different,' " Ciofani says. "I'll say •Not really, man. It's different for the times. Listen to some old records and you'll hear it.' "

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