Day 246: I Love Lightning Bugs

I Love Lightning Bugs
Photo courtesy of I Love Lightning Bugs

I Love Lightning Bugs is a Michigan based indie-rock trio bringing a new wave of energy and excitement to the Detroit music scene. Having formed only two years ago, the band has already made quite an impression on both audiences and critics.

I Love Lightning Bugs
Photo courtesy of I Love Lightning Bugs

After playing shows throughout much of their infancy, I Love Lightning Bugs (or ILLB, as they’re lovingly referred to by their fan base) began to gain a strong following, playing gigs in Ferndale, Berkley and much of the metro-Detroit area. For months this past year, I Love Lightning Bugs worked hard to put out a great first album for these devoted supporters. And they did not disappoint; the band’s self produced debut LP, Kensington (which they recorded in bassist Rob Shelby’s basement), was released in late 2011 to rave reviews.

The praise of their introductory album is not the first of the acclaim that I Love Lightning Bugs has received, however. After a stellar performance at the Metro Times Blowout in Hamtramck, I Love Lightning Bugs was named the CW50’s 2011 Blowout Band early in the year. Because of this honor, coupled with the band’s uniquely energetic and uplifting 90s rock sound, I Love Lightning Bugs was invited to play at such events as the Detroit River Days Festival, Ferndale’s DIY Music Fest, and Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak.

The sound that has attracted such invitations is one that has been carefully honed since the band’s inception two years ago. Guitarist and lead vocalist Reid Mclellan has been compared to the likes of Bono and Frank Black, bringing an inspiring vocal charm to each of the melodies that he and bassist Rob Shelby have created. Shelby’s bass lines bring a powerful intricacy while Angie Kaiser on drums rounds out the band’s sound with driving energy and fullness.

I Love Lightning Bugs
Photo courtesy of I Love Lightning Bugs

Though I Love Lightning Bugs may produce intricate melodies and rhythms, the band still has a wonderful simplicity. Many of the band’s songs, which have a wonderful 90s throwback feel, still bringing fresh and unique sound and are great sing along tracks.

I Love Lightning Bugs, as intelligent musicians, also have an eye on the future. Rob Shelby says, “In the near future we are releasing our first I Love Lightning Bugs comic book and music video. We also will have an EP or two out in 2012.” And having played shows as far as Brooklyn, New York, the fan base that these future endeavors will reach is limitless.

So check out the band’s website, where you can read reviews, listen to and purchase their debut album, Kensington, and even watch the music video for “Stars”. And be sure to like I Love Lightning Bugs on Facebook! ~Hayley Serr, Feature Writer

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Hi, all! A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Awesome Mitten creator Alex Beaton at one of my favorite Michigan landmarks: Michigan State University. Aside from my indulging Spartan roots with trips to East Lansing, I spend most of my time watching movies, cooking, hanging out with my family, and counting down the days until summer, when I can spend a few more days on any of the beautiful lakes of Michigan. Email me at: hayley@awesomemitten.com