On Saturday, local high-energy rock band C-Level celebrates the release of its first album since early 2020.
Think For Yourself, recorded amid the dog days of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, boasts a communal sound with features and assistance from several local musicians who came together to make the best of what seemed like their darkest moments.
“The whole album itself is kind of like a tribute to the community,” singer-guitarist Dave (Ziggy) Deitke says. “Because during the time there in 2020, that should be the most isolating time, we found kind of the opposite.”
That close-knit vibe began when Deitke and the band organized their first fundraising stream benefitting Negative Space, a local nonprofit gallery. What followed: a week of streamed shows comprising four to six artists performing from their own homes every night.
During C-Level’s set, the gallery’s founder Gadi Zamir painted with them as they shredded the evening away. The event raised more than $5,000, and Deitke saw the potential for further collaboration.
From that pivotal moment, C-Level went on to spearhead several fundraisers through the pandemic, bringing in $4,000 for the Beachland Ballroom and Grog Shop on one occasion.
The band’s last campaign raised more than $9,000 for Wags-4-Kids, which Deitke organized for the sake of funding a service dog for one of his students living with autism. The rest of that money went to the organization to fund other families' campaigns.
It was during this time that Think For Yourself took form, including collaborators like The Quasi Kings, Lea Marra and The Dream Catchers, James Muschler, Cellophane Jane and many more.
“I hear a bigger band, realistically, because there's more people — and metaphorically, because it's not just three voices anymore,” Deitke says. “I kind of hear that sense of community because of that. I think doing all these benefits and being able to find a reason to do it … it really affected what we were able to think about is possible and what really mattered.”
He goes on to describe his excitement releasing tracks like “DIYs & Open Mics” — an ode to the communal nature of small local music events — and the FLCL-inspired “Never Knows Best,” which captures the chaotic, fun spirit of the anime.
Catch the band’s record release show this Saturday at the Grog Shop — where C-Level played its first real concert years ago. Opening acts include the sonic mastery of The Franz, Joint Operation and The Cat’s Meow — with the latter performing a setlist from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack.
Tickets on sale now at theGrog Shop website.