Cult-Favorite Rock & Rollers, Bad Boys Lions Rampant Reunite for Over-the-Rhine Block Party

The Lions Rampant are playing AGAR's summer block party in Over-the-Rhine, also featuring Young Heirlooms, DJ Prymtime and live painting and T-shirt printing with artist Henry Burdsall.

click to enlarge The current Lions Rampant lineup (L to R): Stuart MacKenzie, Andrew Jody, Evan Wolff and Jon Weiner. - Photo: Provided by Stuart MacKenzie
Photo: Provided by Stuart MacKenzie
The current Lions Rampant lineup (L to R): Stuart MacKenzie, Andrew Jody, Evan Wolff and Jon Weiner.

Take note, geriatric millennials of the Queen City: Cincinnati's favorite bad boys of Rock & Roll are back for a special event this Friday.

Beloved purveyors of musical anarchy The Lions Rampant are returning to the stage for local creative agency AGAR's summer block party in Over-the-Rhine, also featuring Young Heirlooms, DJ Prymtime and live painting and T-shirt printing with artist Henry Burdsall. AGAR — known for its work on local experiences including the Ubahn Fest, BLINK and Danger Wheel — recommends donning your jorts and bringing a koozie. 

The block party will take place 5-11 p.m. June 11 at 1205 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine. The event is free but you can register at eventbrite.com.

Known for taking the stage in custom-made lion costumes, Lions Rampant last played out in Cincinnati "a couple of years ago for Santa Mania at (Northside) Yacht Club," say vocalist Stuart MacKenzie, co-owner of Yacht Club as well as Jerry's Jug House in Newport. "It was a Christmas miracle."

They also played an AGAR event in 2010 on the rooftop of downtown modern Mexican restaurant Nada — the same year they released their full-length debut, It’s Fun to Do Bad Things, on Deep Elm Records.

Consisting back then of vocalist/guitarist MacKenzie, bassist Nick Vogelpohl and drummer Nate Wagner, CityBeat music writer Brian Baker called that album "a masterstroke of snarling, primal Garage Rock with extra helpings of deep-fried Soul." He also noted the band was known for "bawdy epics that would hold Mick Jagger’s interest and make Larry Flynt blush."

Today, there's a new lineup — MacKenzie is the only original member — but they convey the same ethos.

And because we're just so damn excited to be getting out of the house and re-living our youth after this yearlong pandemic, we asked MacKenzie for more details about what to expect on Friday (just to make double sure it's worth putting on real pants and not re-binging Mare of Easttown).

CityBeat: Who is in the band right now?

Stuart MacKenzie: The lineup right now consists of a bunch of longtime friends and old, crusty, lifelong musicians: Jon Weiner from Dopamines, my business partner at Northside Yacht Club;  Evan Wolff from Vacation; and Andrew "Bulldawg" Jody (AJ) from a bunch of bands, most notably Barrence Whitfield & the Savages.

CB: What inspired you guys to bring the band back for this event?

SM: Andrew Salzbrun, from AGAR, stopped by Yacht Club for brunch and casually asked if we would ever want to play again while I was bartending that hell shift. I hadn't picked up a guitar for years. Running two businesses (Yacht Club and Jerry's Jug House) has run me ragged, but I immediately said yes. Jon and AJ had been playing with me in Lions Rampant and Cincinnati Royals in years past, and Evan is an old friend and guitar legend. It's been really fun playing loud, guitar-driven Rock & Roll. I had no idea how much I missed it. It's a great release, especially with the anger we have from the pandemic. 

CB: Will there be (lion) costumes?

SM: We are still looking for the costumes, but there will definitely be leather pants and sweat involved.

CB: What songs?

SM: A collection of our "greatest hits" from our first two EPs, full length and 45s. Some Cincinnati Royals songs are sprinkled in as well, cause we love playing them. Trying to keep it all killer, no filler. AJ is probably going to puke playing this set. 

CB: Are you considering this a reunion — like are there other shows planned?

SM: So far no shows are planned yet, though we've been having a blast playing together. It would be fun to release our 45 material and Cincinnati Royals stuff digitally, since we only released vinyl or physical copies previously. 

CB: What have you missed most about Lions Rampant and performing as such?

SM: I miss the camaraderie of being in a band. I missed listening to each other. I missed reacting and creating something bigger than the individual microphone and being generally loud. I think we have a year and a half's worth of energy pent up and we are ready to let explode. After each practice, I feel relief. Hopefully the audience will feel the same way. 

Get details and register for AGAR's Friday block party at eventbrite.com

And watch the official music video for 2010's "It's Fun To Do Bad Things" below:

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